SET TO GROW: Students and teachers at the Drake Public School celebrate the opening of their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden with Tenterfield Shire mayor Peter Petty (back, second from left) and foundation representative Mel Schouten (right).
SET TO GROW: Students and teachers at the Drake Public School celebrate the opening of their Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden with Tenterfield Shire mayor Peter Petty (back, second from left) and foundation representative Mel Schouten (right). Scott Harlum

Students prepare a feast with school-yard produce

BY the time Drake Public School's kindergarten students finish Year six, they will have cooked over 300 different recipes with their sustainable vegetable garden and kitchen, according to the school principal.

The garden, which opened yesterday, is a part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, which aims to get students to maintain a vegetable garden and cook various recipes with what they grow.

This program has been implemented into over 200 schools around Australia.

A small taste of the prolific amount of recipes was prepared for the opening ceremony yesterday by the students, including pumpkin and cheese balls, hummus dip, sesame bread, chocolate beetroot muffins, a huge range of salads, and homemade dressing.

"Kids grow, harvest, prepare, and share organic vegetables they grow in their garden," the school's principal Christine Dorward said.

She went on to say that students will be spending a minimum of 45 minutes in the garden and an hour and a half in the kitchen a week.

The children will be operating every step of the process, from planting to harvesting, and they will even make their own mulch.

"It's totally child centred," Ms Dorward said.

The opening ceremony was a huge event yesterday, with a special guest kitchen specialist and gardener attending, and many people visiting the 28 student school.

"We're such a small community, but there would have been about 100 people," Ms Dorward said.

The program also aims to increase the literacy and numeracy skills of the students, through the life skills of cooking and gardening.

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program was started in 2001 by chef and food writer Stephanie Alexander.



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