Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Program for Secondary Years

Food education program now available for secondary schools around Australia.
Nov 9, 2020
Food education
Good food habits and knowledge for life

Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Program was a hit in primary schools, boosting food awareness and the importance of healthy eating. That success should be replicated with its new secondary schools program.

To celebrate the launch of the Kitchen Garden Program for Secondary Years, Australian high schools can win one of two membership packages and $3,500 towards their own kitchen garden for 2021.

The pilot program, involving 14 schools across regional and metropolitan NSW and Victoria, showed two in three students reported increased confidence in growing and / or cooking fresh food, and more than half of the students had been inspired to start growing fresh food at home.

Now ready to launch, The Kitchen Garden Program for Secondary Years is the first of its kind – a curriculum-integrated kitchen garden program designed for secondary school students in Australia. There were 1115 secondary students aged 12–18 that participated in the pilot during 2020 and 822 during 2018-19, with more than 110 educators involved.

The Kitchen Garden Program provides multiple benefits to secondary schools. The program can enhance learning outcomes, create work pathways, support student wellbeing and student engagement, foster opportunities for meaningful community engagement, reinforce environmental sustainability, and most importantly students develop positive food behaviours through growing, cooking, eating and sharing fresh, delicious, nutritious food.

“This program has really got me interested ... we started making changes to the school and I felt really proud about what we were doing. It just got me interested and then I just tried to follow a career around it"- Year 12 student “My intention right from Day One was to develop a school-based program of food education that would be enjoyable, engaging and have meaningful impact on the food choices of our children. I know that I am the food-lover I am today because I grew up experiencing delicious family food around a table every day. The food reflected the weather, the state of the garden, or something special that had a story attached. The stories were as important as the flavours.

“I learnt very early that ‘helping’ in the kitchen and the garden always led to learning something new and interesting. I’m now excited to see the program, and its benefits expand to secondary schools. No matter the age of the student this program can deliver curriculum-linked rich and engaging activities that I believe will lead to better-informed and healthier food habits,” says Stephanie Alexander AO, Founder of the Kitchen Garden Foundation

To celebrate the launch, two secondary schools can win $3500 and a Kitchen Garden Program for Secondary Years membership package to contribute towards infrastructure for their own kitchen garden program. Simply answer, “What does your school’s dream kitchen garden program look like?”. We encourage school to involve students and include their voice in the submission – this could include, a student produced video, garden design or vision board.

The Kitchen Garden Foundation collaborated with pilot schools across Victoria and New South Wales: Clonard College; Cobden Technical School; Drouin Secondary College (and Blackwood Centre for Adolescent Development as an annexe); Elwood College; Heywood and District Secondary College; Liverpool Girls High School; Mordialloc College; Narre Warren South P–12 College; Numurkah Secondary College; Orange High School; St Bernard's College; Werribee Secondary College; Western Heights College.