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Stephanie Alexander AO responds to Australian Curriculum change as her Kitchen Garden Foundation celebrates 20 years

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation 3 mins read
Founder, Stephanie Alexander AO, outside Collingwood College which was the first school to pilot the globally recognised Kitchen Garden Program, 20 years ago.

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation celebrates the recent changes made by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to the Food and Wellbeing curriculum connection. We applaud the shift towards positive messaging in line with the Foundation’s approach to learning.

Hundreds of references to terms including BMI, weight, calories and diets have been removed from school resources by ACARA and replaced with terminology such as “balanced nutrition” in a bid to reduce eating disorders and weight stigma.

“As we celebrate 20 years of working to promote pleasurable food education, it is especially gratifying to hear and see more and more research bodies, food writers, and academics validate my approach. Appreciating and choosing fresh food and incorporating it in daily meals will lead to healthier, happier food-aware adults compared with all attempts to change habits by shaming.”

Stephanie Alexander AO

In 2004, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation was established by Stephanie Alexander AO – the much-loved Australian cook and food writer – to support children and young people in having positive and preventative health education through engaging, hands-on kitchen and garden classes.

Her globally recognised approach to food education was ahead of its time when it was formed 20 years ago. This year, the Foundation celebrates Stephanie’s pioneering vision and the extraordinary impact the Foundation has had on over one million children, their families and broader communities. 

Stephanie has intuitively understood the power of values-based messaging and forged a unique approach to health promotion through pleasurable food education. Pleasurable food education inspires children and young people to understand and connect with fresh, delicious food through fun, hands-on learning to empower children and young people to develop practical skills, an appreciation of seasonal produce, and a positive, confident and healthy relationship with food — for life.

For two decades, the Foundation has supported nutrition, health and wellbeing education across Australian primary schools, secondary schools and early childhood services with its evidence-based Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.

Schools around the country are under pressure with teacher shortages and school refusals. Linked to the Australian curriculum, the Kitchen Garden Program supports ACARA changes and cross-curriculum learning in STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics), agriculture, cultural studies, health, and physical education. The Kitchen Garden Program improves food literacy and behaviour, strengthens social skills, connects children to nature, and supports school engagement and sense of belonging.

“Across the Foundation, we are sharply focused on impact. There remains a strong interest and commitment to the Kitchen Garden Program from schools and early childhood services with over 1,000 settings across Australia involved. Over 3 million pleasurable food education experiences are enjoyed by children each year. We are very proud of this impact, and we look forward to celebrating our Foundation’s 20th anniversary in 2024.”

Dr Cathy Wilkinson, CEO

Primary schools, secondary schools and early childhood services of all sizes are supported to ‘start small and dream big’. As Stephanie explains, “Seeing my original vision flourish in gardens and kitchens of all shapes and sizes reinforces to me that pleasurable food education links students to positive health, wellbeing and sustainability practices that are even more essential now than they were 20 years ago.”

The work of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and the Kitchen Garden Program is still as relevant as it was in 2004, and the opportunities to nurture future generations are as powerful as ever.

 


Key Facts:

3 million + pleasurable food education experiences per year.

100,000+ children participate in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program per year. 

1000+ Kitchen Garden Program members (schools and early childhood services) across the nation.

158 new members in FY 2022/2023.

575 educators attended our professional development events in FY 2022/2023.

Our digital resource library and community hub, the Shared Table, fostered a surge of community engagement from educators. 2x more engagement than the previous financial year and the highest total since 2018; 23,359 downloads of curriculum-linked lesson plans and resources in FY 2022/2023.


About us:

Established in 2004, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation partners with philanthropic organisations, government, corporations and individuals to make positive changes in the food habits of all Australians.


Contact details:

Interviews and images are available.

To arrange interviews, please contact Hayley McKee, Communications Lead hayley.mckee@kitchengardenfoundation.org.au 0413 421 038

Images are available.

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