An evaluation of the Federal Government’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program released today shows the real difference it has made to students around Australia.
The report shows that students involved in the program are more likely to try new healthier food – even more so if they have grown or cooked the food themselves.
“This program, which was introduced by the Australian Government in 2008, has made a difference to students, teachers and parents throughout Australia,” Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, said.
“Parents have reported improvements in students’ behaviours, and teachers across Australia have reported that the program is providing support for students at risk of social exclusion.”
The program was developed by culinary expert Stephanie Alexander. Under the program, children grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh food. The aim is for children to translate their knowledge from the school setting into the home, benefitting the whole family, and to develop lifelong healthy eating habits.
Ed Husic, the Federal Member for Chifley, announced the release of the report at Whalan Public School in Western Sydney.
“I am pleased to say that the evaluation proves that these wonderful Kitchen Gardens really do work,” Mr Husic said.
“I’m particularly impressed with the sensational garden here at Whalan Public School, not only for the positive impacts it’s having on students, but with the incredible team of volunteers that helps to run the Kitchen Garden.”
In August, 2012, the program received an additional $5.4 million in funding and was revised to make it more accessible through greater flexibility in infrastructure requirements and allowing teachers who have undertaken training, as well as specialists to deliver the program. The program also now provides 80 low socio-economic status grants of up to $10,000 (GST exclusive) to support implementation.
The revised program aims to reach 400 additional schools (as well as 267 schools already involved), by providing access to a teacher-delivered kitchen garden curriculum and online resources.
The program builds on the investment made by the Australian Government as part of the Council of Australian Governments’ National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.