Minister for Health Nicola Roxon launched the national Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. Interested schools can apply to take part in the initiative.
The $12.8 million Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program will teach kids in Government primary schools, in years 3-6, to grow, harvest, cook and share fresh food.
The Minister was joined by culinary legend and founder of the program, Stephanie Alexander, and well known ABC chef and Western Australian project Ambassador Ian Parmenter.
Children will work in a productive garden within their school where they will harvest the food and cook it in a purpose-built teaching kitchen, before sitting down together to taste and enjoy what they have made.
Children learn best by getting involved and through positive examples. By teaching our kids about growing, preparing and sharing healthy food, this program aims to develop life-long healthy eating habits.
The Government is inviting schools around Australia to submit expressions of interest to participate in the program. Each state and territory (except Victoria which already has a demonstration school) will have one demonstration school which will initially put the program in place and be a model for other participating schools.
The program will be rolled out over four years in up to 190 Government primary schools nationally. Each participating school will receive one-off funding of up to $60,000 to cover infrastructure costs associated with building kitchens and gardens.
The Government will provide $560,000 to cover specialist kitchen and garden staff in the demonstration schools for the first two years to help get them established. The school that becomes the demonstration school for its state will receive additional funding of $40,000 each year for the first two years for two staff – a garden and a kitchen specialist.
The national rollout of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program follows its successful delivery in Victoria over the past seven years.
The Government is planning a phased approach to the rollout. The invitation for schools to submit expressions of interest will be advertised nationally this month through education magazines and newsletters, the Department of Health and Ageing website (www.health.gov.au and www.healthyactive.gov.au) and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation website (www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au).
The Australian Government is serious about tackling childhood obesity. The fight against the obesity epidemic starts with our children – and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program is an innovative and practical way of getting children involved and developing healthy habits for life.
(Source: Department of Health and Ageing: August 2008)