Written on November 24, 2008 – 3:58 pm | by ozjourno
About 10 years ago I approached a local primary school about establishing an edible garden at the school. The idea was knocked back. I was told it was not feasible & parents would not support it. End of story.
In 2004 the Kitchen Garden Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, was born after the initial success of the Collingwood project. Now selected primary schools, their students and families in Victoria could benefit from growing, harvesting and cooking of organic foods.
But it is so much more than just growing & preparing organic produce to eat. The program offers life-long skills that have an effect on many areas of health and education.
Firstly, lets start with the school environment.
Kids who eat well have better learning outcomes. A while ago I was asked to help an ‘at-risk’ teen at a local high school. I am a great believer in a more holistic approach to kids in trouble – and that includes looking at diet. Breakfast, in this case, consisted of a Mars Bar and a can of Coke. This, I was told by a teacher, is not uncommon. And they wonder why kids burn out halfway through the morning with a sugar crash? How can a child learn when the fuel they put in themselves is toxic to learning?
Kids who ‘do’ learn.
Hands-on projects help kids connect with the learning principles, by putting into practice what they have been taught through co-operative learning and being part of a team. Kids who are interested are more enthusiastic.
They also get the opportunity to connect with others, including teachers, helpers, making new friends & family. They develop and master skills that may also be passed on to the next generation – something that is sadly lacking in communities.
One thing that I believe in, is that kids need to appreciate the ‘quiet’. No video games, no mobile phones, no iPods & no computers. Just being outside amongst nature without interruption. In fact, they have now discovered a ‘green deficit’ which results in a lack of concentration. ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ is another theory that says kids are losing their connection with nature.
Into the Future
Imagine a future where obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease were diminished? Australians, if feeling stressed, would be more likely to hit the vegie patch instead of a bottle of Prozac if they have the right skills and mindset.
In 20-30 years from now, this is a future we could be looking at, with a program like this in place in every primary school across Australia. Nicola Roxon saw the vision and now the Federal Government is about to roll out the program across Australia ot about 190 primary schools. Hopefully we will see this in all schools …