Kitchen garden program to keep sprouting young chefs

Posted by Josette Dunn on 10th November 2010

Thousands more Victorian school children will be growing, cooking and eating their own food at school thanks to an expansion of the successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.Education Minister Bronwyn Pike recently announced the Victorian Government would invest an additional $1.1 million in the program to boost the number of schools with kitchen gardens from 43 to 57.

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program began in 2007 and the additional funding will provide schools with grants of up to $62,500 each to cover the costs of building kitchens and gardens.

“Our extra $1.1 million investment in this great program will provide funding for 14 more schools to build kitchen and garden facilities and employ a part-time garden expert and a kitchen specialist who will help grow the food and then turn it into delicious meals with the students,” Ms Pike said.

“The young students in grades three to six have a great time growing, harvesting and cooking food themselves – then enjoying it for lunch.

“The gardens are full of nutritious food including rhubarb, broad beans, celery and rosemary, and students learn practical skills and develop informed healthy eating habits.

“The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program shows students that great tasting foods are not always in plastic wrappers, but can be grown and harvested directly from the ground.

“The program is inspired by top Australian cook, restaurateur and food writer Stephanie Alexander and is part of our Government’s plans for tackling obesity, particularly in children and adolescents.

“Kids get their hands dirty and learn skills that will last them a lifetime, as they discover just how much fun it is to grow and cook their own seasonal vegetables and fruits.”

This latest funding builds on the $2.84 million provided by the Victorian Government since 2007 under the ‘Go for your life’ healthy eating initiative.