Fresh produce, home gardening and healthy eating will be on the table for more Victorian students with the Andrews Labor Government’s $1.5 million investment in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.
Visiting Elwood Primary School this morning to taste the fruits of the students’ labour, Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino joined Stephanie Alexander to announce extending the successful program to more schools across Victoria, and to early childhood services.
Research shows that healthy students do better in school, yet only 11 per cent of young people eat the daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables, and one in four Victorian children is currently overweight or obese.
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program, already underway in 221 schools in Victoria, including Elwood Primary School, is designed to change the way kids think about food, and teaches students how to grow, harvest and prepare fresh and nutritious food.
Elwood Primary students in Years 3 and 4 take part in both a kitchen and garden session each week. Their weekly kitchen session culminates in everyone sharing a nutritious meal.
The funding, part of the Victorian Budget 2016/17, will be delivered over three years. It will also be used to develop new resources for teachers based on the Victorian Curriculum, as well as training and support for participating schools.
As part of our ambitious Education State targets, the Labor Government is working to boost resilience in Victorian kids, including helping children to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Communication will be sent to all Victorian government schools and early childhood services inviting them to sign up for the membership-based program via the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden website.
The Department of Education will work with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation to explore ways to encourage disadvantaged schools in particular to participate in the program.
Quotes attributable to Acting Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino
“Eating habits are established early, and this important program teaches kids about the importance of healthy eating.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is proud to be continuing its partnership with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program through this $1.5 million investment.”
“This is part of the Education State plan to better prepare our kids for work and life. Many young lives will be improved, and many delicious, healthy meals made, thanks to this great program.”