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Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program

 

What is the kitchen garden program?

Purpose

The aim of the Kitchen Garden Program at Chevallum State School is to encourage positive life-long healthy eating habits by fostering an enjoyment of food and a positive relationship with food.  

We work towards that aim in a very practical, “hands on” way by involving students in the growing and preparation of healthy food using simple ingredients, which they share in a positive environment.

Establishment

In 2009 Chevallum State School successfully applied for a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Grant, to begin a program at the school.  For many years a dedicated group of parents nurtured a permaculture garden at the school and the Kitchen Garden became a natural progression of that concept.

With the assistance of the grant and funds from the Federal Government (BER program) a purpose built kitchen was completed at Chevallum in 2010. This facility is used by the Kitchen Garden students each week to create wonderful meals fresh from the garden.



The Current Program

The program provides both kitchen and garden classes on a fortnightly basis, enabling skills-based learning which reaches across the curriculum.  Students spend time each week in the garden growing and tending to produce using organic gardening methods. Flowing on from this the students learn how to cook nutritious, healthy meals and share what they have grown.

This program provides students with memorable food experiences, which can lead to a lifetime of positive eating habits and enjoyment of food. The Kitchen Garden enables students to bring their food from the planting to the plate and to be involved in all the steps along the way.  It focuses on the principles of grow, harvest, prepare and share.

It fosters a true appreciation of the value of good food, of looking after the land and the environment, which gives us the gift of food and the social experience of sharing a meal in the company of friends, or in this case classmates.

Kitchen garden lessons

Each fortnight Yrs 4-7 students participate in a 45 minute garden class, where they cultivate and care for the variety of produce growing in the organic garden.

Students also participate in a 90min kitchen class fortnightly, where they work in groups to create different parts of a meal, which is shared communally at the conclusion of the lesson.

 Recognition - Edible Landscape Award in the 2011 Living Smart 'Glossies'. 

The Edible Landscape Award is for a resident or an organisation that has reduced its ecological footprint by growing some of its own food using environmentally friendly method.

The recipe for effective food education: 

  • Encourage fun, flavour and texture through experiences that engage all the senses.
  • Model good food choices without resorting to pyramids or labels of ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’.
  • Reinforce techniques repeatedly, providing the confidence to plant seeds or cook simple dishes at home.
  • Plan our menus around the fresh, seasonal food that’s growing in the garden.
  • Use good ingredients at their peak – seasonal herbs, crisp veggies, fresh fruits.
  • Expand culinary horizons, presenting cultural differences as fascinating rather than strange.
  • Expand vocabularies for describing foods, flavours, textures, plants and processes.
  • Believe that food should be delicious and that the cooking of fresh fruit and vegetables should be timed with great care.
  • Come together at the end of the cooking to share our meal around the table.

(Source: Kitchen Garden Website 2011)

For more information on the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Program go to www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au