Growing ripe tomatoes, fresh green beans, sweet golden corn and educating young minds on food and healthy eating habits are just some of the components of an innovative Gillard Government funded program designed to tackle childhood obesity.
The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon today announced the Gillard Government would invest $2.69 million for phase four of the successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Gardens program.
The Minister announced the new round of funding round whilst opening a new kitchen garden at Hebersham Public School in Western Sydney with local member Ed Husic, celebrity chef Kylie Kwong and Stephanie Alexander herself.
“We want people to live healthy lives, stay out of hospital as long as possible and importantly be healthy. Giving kids opportunities early in life to form healthy habits is an important investment.
“Today we are doing this by opening this superb new facility for the Hebersham Public School and also calling for applicants for the fourth and final round of funding for this wonderful initiative.
“The SAKGP helps us tackle childhood obesity by giving school-aged children a hands-on experience in healthy eating,” Ms Roxon said.
The new funding round – up to $60,000 per school – will give an opportunity for other schools to also enjoy the benefits that students at Hebersham Public School will experience in growing healthy veggies.
Under the SAKGP children grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh food to improve nutrition and develop life-long healthy eating habits.
“To date, the program founded by culinary expert Stephanie Alexander has 128 schools involved, 80 of which are fully operational with constructed kitchens, gardens and operational classes,” Ms Roxon said.
Ms Roxon congratulated the children, teachers, volunteers and parents for their efforts and their rewarding work which is encouraging healthy eating habits in school-aged children.
Local Member for Chifley Ed Husic said that students at Hebersham Public School will be able to help fight Australia’s rising obesity problem through their successful participation in the Program.
“We want to our kids to have a healthy future and Hebersham Public School is actively engaging kids, in a fun way, to make healthy choices and become healthy adults.
“I am proud that this local school is one of 33 New South Wales primary schools currently taking part in the program” Mr Husic said.
The Gillard Government has committed $12.8 million over four years to implement the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program in up to 190 eligible primary schools. The Government has also announced another $1 million over three years to develop curriculum resources to support the successful program.
Schools can receive funding to help with the construction of kitchen and garden infrastructure to support the program.
Ms Roxon said, “The grants are open to all government schools with a primary enrolment, and have been extended to include special schools with a primary curriculum, and to non-government schools that receive additional support through the Smarter Schools National Partnership for Low Socio-economic Status School Communities initiative.”
For further information about the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program, please see: www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au