Greens plan to give children healthy eating skills
The Australian Greens have a $46.5 million plan for teaching kids what they need to know about food including funding up to 800 new school kitchen gardens and ensuring healthy eating and nutrition is part of the national curriculum.
"One of the best things we can do to help our children lead a healthy life is to teach them about food - how to grow it, choose it, buy it, cook it and store it," Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
"As a former teacher, I know nothing beats hands-on learning at school - children really love the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and learn new skills, which is why kitchen gardens like the Stephanie Alexander program have been such a huge success.
"We need to foster a culture of knowledge and passion for food from a young age so that children grow up to be healthy adults.
"It is important to teach our children food literacy so they can appreciate where food comes from and why eating well is so important.
"It's also a way of supporting our farmers by educating children about the nutritional value of food that is local, fresh and seasonal.
"We must also help adults who have lost or missed out on this knowledge to gain these skills for a better quality life."
The Greens will invest $46.5 million over four years from 1 July 2014:
• Ensuring that teaching about where food comes from is embedded into the national curriculum for primary and secondary students;
• Fund up to 800 new school kitchen gardens projects, prioritising funding for schools in low socio-economic areas; and
• Offering national grants for adult nutrition education programs targeting staff training for welfare agencies that provide food relief and their clients.
Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the Greens would provide grants up to $50,000 for 200 schools a year.
"It is time to expand the number of schools that can have a kitchen garden because the current demand is not being met," Senator Whish-Wilson said.
"Programs like the Stephanie Alexander program have been an enormous success because children are enthusiastic and passionate about growing and preparing food.
"These programs are also having positive impacts on other aspects of school, including teaching children about building teamwork and providing varied learning experiences.
"School kitchen gardens also connect communities and provide employment for local gardeners, horticulturalists and garden experts."