Kitchen Gardens Playground

Grampians Community Health are excited with the newly announced Kitchen Gardens Playground to Plate grants scheme funded by the Victorian Government.

Administered by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, the aim is to help Victorian schools to enhance their whole-school approach to health and wellbeing. This targeted boost of infrastructure funding will support the delivery of pleasurable food education. It’s a significant move from the Victorian Government to fund schools where resourcing may be a barrier to implementing a kitchen garden program.

“Financial resources can be scarce for many schools, so materials and equipment need to be prioritised. Understandably gardening equipment is not always a top priority, so for the Government to acknowledge this is terrific” said Grampians Community Health, Health Promotion worker Rachel Whittaker.

Bronwen Milligan Community Health Nurse at Grampians Community Health said statistics show one in every four Australian children is overweight or obese, so this program is an excellent strategy to support good eating habits.

“Obesity is mainly the result of lifestyle behaviours such as unhealthy eating and low physical activity.” Said Ms Milligan.

According to population health evidence,

  • Northern Grampians and Pyrenees Shire’s rate of Type 2 Diabetes is higher than the state average, and half of the population are not eating enough fruit and vegetables to be meeting the Australian guidelines.
  • In the Northern Grampians, the intake of sweetened drinks was almost double of the Victorian average, while the Pyrenees shire was also more than the state average.
  • Although our community’s fruit and vegetable intake were similar to the state average much of the population is not eating the required amounts; and
  • People in the Ararat Rural City ate takeaway 1-3 times a week more than the Victorian average and drank sugar-sweetened soft drinks at a higher daily average than the overall Victorian population.

Teaching children to grow, harvest, prepare and share own fruit and vegetables, is proven to have a positive impact on the food choices students make. This learning extends beyond the classroom – research shows that engaged, excited students are likely to share their new skills with their family.

Launa Schilling Health Promotion from Grampians Community Health said, “the social connection that the kitchen garden into schools provides is of extreme benefit to young people. This initiative facilitates them to make new friends, learn together and consideration into carrying this into secondary colleges. This scheme is important as this creates a sense of community and belonging.”

Rachael Whittaker added that to make choices even easier for students consistent with what they are learning at school, other places in which young people spend time such as sporting facilities are changing what they offer in the way of food and drink.

“The healthier choice is slowly becoming the easy choice, and the student’s participating in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen garden program will have the knowledge in which to choose what is best for them,” said Ms Whittaker

Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.