10-Apr-2018

Stephanie Alexander teaching kids to grow, eat and respect food

One of Australia’s most respected advocates of home grown food, Stephanie Alexander AO, says kids who have their own school kitchen gardens are learning about the importance of healthy soils in producing healthy food.

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation has initiated school kitchen gardens in over 1600 schools around Australia.

In the latest interview in the Soils For Life YouTube series, Ms Alexander says the principle behind the Foundation is pleasurable food education.

“I know that what people eat is closely connected to obesity issues – junk food, convenience food and so on, so I wanted to provide an alternative, but at a very young age so I could influence children’s preferences”, Ms Alexander says.

“I have to admit that I was spurred on to develop this program because I felt that what I was hearing from government and health authorities had nothing to do with pleasure. And I don’t believe behaviour changes unless people wish to change their behaviour, and that means the change that’s being proposed needs to be enjoyable”.

“We want young children to understand the importance and respect that’s due to good fresh seasonal food and that involves them understanding how it grows and what is important in the garden to make their vegetables strong and delicious”.

“The compost heap is one of the most important parts of the garden – the kids soon get to understand which bin is resting and which bin is ready. They also learn about crop rotation, they learn about the best way to water their plants, how to mulch their plants, they become quite competent little gardeners”.

“It also involves them learning when things are ripe, so that they pick them at the right time. Then it involves them taking it into a small kitchen space usually, and learning how to cook extremely simple vegetables based dishes, which they then sit down and share”.

In his report, “Restore the Soil: Prosper the Nation”, the National Soils Advocate, Major General Michael Jeffery, has proposed that the national soils policy should include school gardens in every primary and junior high school as a national program, implemented through the Australian Curriculum, and with an integrated syllabus which could be developed in collaboration with the Primary Industries Education Foundation of Australia and the Stephanie Alexander Foundation.

Find the Stephanie Alexander interview at: Stephanie Alexander video

For more information, contact: Niree Creed, Media, Soils for Life:0418625595


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