Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - EMMA CHADWICK

TH­ESE green thumbs are help­ing to com­bat an in­creas­ing move by Aus­tralian fam­i­lies away from fresh food by grow­ing pro­duce in their school gar­den.

Mar­ian Catholic Pri­mary School is part of the Stephanie Alexan­der Kitchen Gar­den pro­gram de­vel­oped by the Aus­tralian food icon to help en­sure chil­dren are learn­ing healthy eat­ing habits from a young age.

Ms Alexan­der said she wanted to see the kitchen gar­den pro­gram ex­tended into homes.

“We know par­ents are busier than ever and it’s hard to fit ev­ery­thing in,” Ms Alexan­der said. “By mak­ing small changes such as spend­ing more time pre­par­ing and eat­ing meals to­gether as a fam­ily, par­ents can help kick­start good habits and switch mind­sets about healthy eat­ing among their chil­dren.”

Mar­ian School’s gar­den pro­gram as­sis­tant Penny Hickey said stu­dents were ex­cited about their gar­den and had raised money to build the gar­den and buy wa­ter tanks.

“We have to­ma­toes and basil, radish, snow peas and beans, and we have a paw paw tree that was al­ready there, which adds to the gar­den,” Mrs Hickey said. “It’s all about teach­ing the chil­dren where food comes from, that it is not just from the su­per­mar­ket.”

The school is rais­ing money for a kitchen where stu­dents will be able to make sim­ple things like dips from the fresh pro­duce and herbs and cook damper.

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