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Altona Green Primary School

The Altona Green Primary School set out in 2007 to apply for one of the popular Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden grants to set up a teaching kitchen and fruit and vegetable garden.

The school is situated in a lower socio-economic area in the western end of the Hobsons Bay municipality and it was felt a kitchen-garden project would help improve studentsí eating habits and train them in food preparation and cooking, particularly with child obesity a rising problem. Many students did not understand the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables in the human diet. And many did not usually eat at the dinner table in their homes. A Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden was the answer to improving the problem.

But as Altona Green Primary School teachers set about to apply for Stephanie Alexander funding, they discovered the nearby Altona Meadows Primary School was also bidding for the same type of grant that year as well. The chances of both being successful were slim.

After discussions between the schools, it was decided to jointly apply for a single grant and split the funds so that both schools could build kitchens rather than one missing out altogether. But the move meant that extra funds would be needed to make the kitchen-garden program work properly.

Altona Green Primary School had an existing garden area which had been set up in 2004. But it had fallen into disuse after initial interest by students. When the Stephanie Alexander funding was received, the schoolís garden specialist Zanni Waldstein set about building up the fruit and vegetable garden. But she needed funds to do so.

In 2008, Ms Waldstein applied for a Hobsons Bay Community Fund grant to pay for sub-surface irrigation in the revamped garden and a newer fruit and vegetable growing area outside the kitchen. In October that year, Altona Green Primary School was awarded $1500 to pay for the irrigation system.

Ms Waldstein said a pleasing advantage of the Hobsons Bay Community Fund was the relaxed guidelines in the grant application process. With virtually no rigid rules, paperwork was kept to a minimum.

Students at the school grow a range of fruit and vegetables. Special focus has been made on growing heritage varieties of vegetables. In just a short time, the students have come to understand the importance of a good diet but also how to cook their own meals.

 

Australian Communities Foundation

Hobsons Bay Community Fund is a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation. To visit the ACF website, click here.acf logo 2015

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