Pleasurable Food Education
Delivered through a kitchen garden program, pleasurable food education teaches children to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal, delicious food in order to form positive food habits for life.
The purpose of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is to introduce pleasurable food education to children during their learning years, in order to form positive food habits for life. The recipe for effective food education is ...
- Pleasurable food education emphasises the flavours as well as the health benefits of fresh, seasonal, delicious food.
- Dishes cooked reflect the vegetables, herbs and fruits grown, season-by-season, by the children in their organic gardens, and also reflect the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
- Kitchen educators emphasise balance and moderation, and endorse the concept of preparing fruit-based desserts ‘sometimes-only’.
- Pleasurable food education is designed to be fully integrated into the curriculum or learning framework as it offers infinite possibilities to reinforce literacy, numeracy, science, cultural studies and all aspects of environmental sustainability.
- Pleasurable food education delivers observable social benefits to all children, including those with special needs.
- Pleasurable food education encourages critical thinking, teamwork, an understanding of cause and effect, and increased levels of observation.
Proof it works
Pleasurable food education is currently delivered in around 2,000 primary and secondary schools as well as early learning services around the country. The ‘What’s Cooking’ study in conjunction with The University of Melbourne, and funded by our Principal Partner Medibank, is the first to measure long-term impact in the Foundation’s 15-year history. The results show that 84% of those surveyed agreed it had a positive impact on their lives, with 58% of these reporting it increased their enjoyment of school as well as an increased respect for fresh and seasonal produce.
A Department of Health and Ageing-funded national evaluation of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program was undertaken between 2011-2012 by the Centre for Health Service Development at the Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong. The evaluation confirmed the positive impacts of the Program. Students found the activities of the Program to be a positive context for learning across multiple subject areas. 96.7% of teacher respondents were very positive and provided numerous perspectives of the ways the Program was supportive of classroom learning.
An evaluation of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program was undertaken between 2007 and 2009, by a joint research team from the Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing & Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University and the McCaughey Centre: VicHealth Centre for the Promotion of Mental Health and Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne. The findings were extremely positive and demonstrated that the Kitchen Garden Program is encouraging positive health behaviour change in participating children. The evaluation also showcased the transfer of benefits to the home and the broader community.
We get so much feedback from principals, parents and of course from the students themselves, about how popular this is and how it’s changing children’s attitudes towards fresh food.
If they have developed that understanding and willingness to expand their horizons as far as food goes, and understand what goes on in the garden and how that food has got on their plate, those insights and understandings will be there for life.