Benalla P-12 College

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SAKG

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) exists to develop happy and healthy life-long eating habits in a new generation of Australians by engaging them in growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing delicious and healthy food at primary school.

The Kitchen Garden Program has been developed by world renowned chef and writer, Stephanie Alexander and Benalla P-12 College is proud to be part of this wonderful program.

Students from Years 3 & 4 from the Waller St and Avon St Campuses spend 2 hours each week in a kitchen classroom preparing and sharing a wonderful variety of meals created from produce grown in our own vegie gardens. They also participate in a 45 minute weekly garden lesson held in the vegetable garden following organic gardening principles. Amanda Grimwade is our Kitchen and Garden Specialist, run these sessions.

In both the kitchen and the garden the children work together in small groups with the assistance of volunteers. In the kitchen the finished dishes are arranged with pride and care on tables set with flowers from the garden, and the shared meal is a time for students, helpers, teachers and specialists to enjoy each other’s company and conversation. Throughout the year, the students invite family and community members to experience the Kitchen Garden Programme through our Autumn and Spring Harvest Festivals. The students also have the opportunity to be involved in the wider community through visits from our more senior residents, the local garden clubs and participation in the Benalla Festival.

Through their involvement in the SAKGP students learn to work cooperatively, share resources, respect each other, see teachers in a different learning environment, gain enjoyment and have fun working in the garden and kitchen. Working in the garden is a physical activity. Students’ plant, compost, dig; collect the eggs from our chooks and develop an awareness of the environment and plant diversity. Students learn a new language to describe foods, plants, textures and flavours. They use maths to measure and weigh, they learn that new experiences can be rewarding, and their self-esteem, confidence and sense of achievement is enhanced. They learn to work as part of a team.

Experience in the kitchen not only introduces students to new foods and recipes, it also provides them with kitchen skills such as using a knife safely and effectively, managing hot stoves and saucepans, and using other kitchen equipment.

So good are these experiences that the students are motivated by the pleasures of good food, and develop an appreciation for rituals and tastes that will last a lifetime. There are two unique factors about the Kitchen Garden Program. The first is the intrinsic link between the garden, the kitchen and the table. The emphasis is on learning about food and about eating it. No part of the Program can exist without the other. The second factor is that the Program is embedded in the curriculum.

We would like to extend an invitation to our Benalla P-12 College community to come and visit our kitchen or garden and see our wonderful program in action Monday-Thursdays. We always welcome new volunteers so if you are interested or know someone who maybe contact the Waller St Campus. For more information regarding the program visit our school website or the SAKGF – http://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au/

SAKG Coordinator: Danielle Milvain



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