The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation Launched
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
On Friday 9 September, 2005 the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation was launched at Collingwood College in Melbourne. The Honourable John Brumby MP, Minister for State and Regional Development, planted an olive tree symbolising the important relationship which has been forged between the Foundation and the Victorian State Government. The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation has been established to consolidate the pilot project at Collingwood College where primary school children are involved in a hands-on program learning about food, from the garden to the table, and to seek financial partners so that this pilot project can be extended and evaluated in other Victorian primary schools. Students and volunteers in the Kitchen Garden program at Collingwood College prepared and presented a lunch using freshly harvested produce and donated seasonal ingredients to 170 guests. The purpose of the launch event was to bring together representatives from different sectors of the community schools, industry, business, educationalists and government. -to see how children are learning about food in a hands-on way as part of the kitchen garden project at Collingwood College -to share the vision of extending this approach to a much larger community across the state. The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is a registered charity with Deductible Gift Recipient status, making donations tax-deductible. There is considerable public alarm at the growing rate of childhood obesity and much debate as to the most effective way to arrest this escalating problem. The Foundation believes that children are more likely to experiment with foods they have grown or prepared themselves, and that lifelong eating habits are developed early. The Foundations aim is to educate young Victorians about the pleasures and benefits of fresh food and the joys that can be gained from growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing good produce with each other. The Foundation believes this project has the potential to affect the well being not just of children, but of the land, of communities and of the nation. In 2001 author and cook, Stephanie Alexander initiated this innovative project at Melbournes Collingwood College. 120 children in grades 3 to 6 participate in two hours a week of growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing food. The cost of about $60,000 a year includes a part-time gardener and a part-time cook. The project depends on public involvement in the form of volunteers who contribute over 2000 hours a year to this work.