Meet our Support Team
Our kitchen garden community across the country call and email the Foundation regularly with questions about curriculum integration, kitchen safety, funding opportunities, upcoming training or even just what they should or shouldn’t put in their compost! These call and emails are responded to by our incredible Support Team: with a wealth of knowledge from their own experiences, including in kitchen garden schools and services, there is no query they can’t answer.
Name: Ali Gobbart
What is your role at the Foundation? Community Engagement Coordinator. We love to see the schools and services getting the most out of their kitchen garden program experiences and seeing pleasurable food education in action. Whether that is learning through challenges or celebrating successes in your kitchen garden, I provide support to help realise those plans and dreams through phone, email and web-based enquiries and I help with webinars when needed. I’m part of a fabulous team of passionate people who love to celebrate your stories and to see the wonderful impact the Kitchen Garden Program has on helping children develop positive food habits for life.
What is your spirit kitchen or garden tool and why? My spirit kitchen tool is the chopping board. Like a chopping board, I provide stability and support. I am reliable and dependable amongst a flurry of activity. I work best when I’m busy and can juggle many tasks, no matter the shape or size.
What is your favourite resource or recipe on the Shared Table? Ahhh, that’s a tricky decision with so many wonderful resources to tap in to there! I would have to say I’m a fan of the recipe collections by ingredient. Plus it’s a lovely nod to the layout of Stephanie Alexander’s cookbook The Cook’s Companion. Whether it’s Asparagus, Broccoli or Carrots that you’re wanting to prepare and share in the kitchen, searching recipe collections by ingredients is as easy as A,B,C!
Name: Mietta Marchingo
What is your role at the Foundation? As Community Engagement Coordinator, I have the great privilege of introducing curious minds to the Kitchen Garden Program and helping them get started on their kitchen garden journey. I also work with the wonderful Support and Projects team on lots of exciting opportunities. No two days are alike! I couldn’t be more looking forward to spreading the good words of fresh, seasonal and delicious to the wider community in 2023.
What is your spirit kitchen or garden tool and why? The humble kitchen twine. Though I am most comfortable in the kitchen, tying cheese cloth to a pot to make parmesan stock, or attaching dried oranges to my Christmas tree, I am slowly making my way into the garden, tying tomatoes to their stakes, or even a creating a makeshift twine fence to keep my poodle out of the patch.
What is your favourite resource or recipe on the Shared Table? My one favourite?! Not possible. I love seeing the creativity of schools posting on the Shared Table and draw so much inspiration from them for my own kitchen and garden. Along with the resources my knowledgeable colleagues curate and lovingly put together. If I had to pick one, it would be the month-by-month guides. As a new kitchen gardener, I find these tips practical and easy to follow, and a great guide for a novice who is starting out in their garden journey!
Name: Laura Norton
What is your role at the Foundation? Early Childhood Project Coordinator. I have over 20 years in the Early Childhood sector and a passion for gardening and cooking seasonal nutritious food. I love the idea of supporting little ones in the kitchen and garden, knowing we are teaching them important life skills.
I also understand what it’s like to be an educator and I love supporting them through resources, hosting one-on-one catch-ups, answering membership questions, and hearing the amazing learning opportunities they are offering our little ones.
What is your Spirit Kitchen or Garden Tool and why? The slow cooker, because I love minimal fuss and nurturing things slowly over time. You put the hard work in at the beginning and then at the end of the day you have a nourishing warm meal that has come together and feeds many.
What is your favourite resource or recipe on the Shared Table? I love the kitchen trolley. If you have a trolley, you have a roaming kitchen, perfect for the early childhood sector.
Name: Kate Beckwith
What is your role at the Foundation? My role is Professional Development Coordinator. I work with Chris Saray in the Support Team to deliver training across the country.
What is your Spirit Kitchen or Garden Tool and why? My spirit tool is a garden trellis. I like to offer support to help others reach new heights. I’m at my best when I get stuck in at ground level, and work together with others to produce amazing results. I can tailor my shape to fit the need at the time, and I can stay the distance come rain or shine.
What is your favourite resource or recipe on the Shared Table? One favourite resource is hard to pick, because the Shared Table is a treasure trove of resources tailored to the changing seasons. If I had to pick one, it would have to be Volunteer resourcing challenges, because it provides examples of how, together, we can work through obstacles and find solutions that support our amazing specialists and keep Kitchen Garden Program classes running sustainably.
Name: Suzie Wilton
What is your role at the Foundation? Professional Development Lead. My role usually means delivering professional development sessions to our kitchen garden community all around Australia. Currently, while working from home in Melbourne, I am working with the team to develop our webinars and resources to support educators.
What is your Spirit Kitchen or Garden Tool and why? I am the whisk! I like to bring bubbly-ness and energy to whatever I’m doing, I like working with my hands and I’m not afraid of a bit of hard work.
What is your favourite resource or recipe on the Shared Table? I love spending time on the Shared Table, so I think my favourite resource changes all the time! Right now, I would say it’s the split broad bean falafel recipe, as I’m really looking forward to experimenting with swapping fresh broad beans for the dried ones this spring.
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