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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 9029


Ms McBRIDE (Dobell) (11:19): Last week, I invited primary school students in my electorate of Dobell to tell me how to make eating fruit and veg more fun to win prizes for their schools from programs by celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Stephanie Alexander. Following last year's inaugural Dobell Kitchen Garden Classroom competition, this spring, I've launched the From School Garden to Plate competition, encouraging students to learn more about preparing the fresh, healthy food that they've grown in their school gardens.

Last year's competition was inspired by the Tacoma Public School leafy leaders. It was to promote school gardens as an educational tool for children to learn more about gardening and growing food. This year the focus is on what to do with the fresh healthy food that you've grown. I launched the competition at Toukley Public School, who were the winners of my first kitchen garden competition last year. Under the guidance of Mr Norman, the green thumbs, who meet and garden every day at school, have grown an impressive veggie patch. They now sell produce to parents and teachers to raise money for more gardening supplies. I tasted their fresh strawberries, picked from the garden, and I'm keen to try their kale chips recipe.

Students from all primary schools in my community are invited to enter the From School Garden to Plate competition through their schools. First prize this year is a Jamie Oliver learn your fruit and veg session, conducted by the Good Foundation, which was established in 2010 to focus on programs and projects that promote good health and nutrition. In the classroom session the winning students will get their hands messy and their fingers sticky as they learn about fresh seasonal ingredients and prepare a meal to share with their classmates. Second prize this year is a Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden classroom educators pack and third prize is a Stephanie Alexander Getting Started guide. Both are designed to support schools to develop gardens and lessons around fresh food.

Last year students were asked to tell me how a kitchen garden classroom would help them to learn, and the quality of entries was outstanding. This year I'm asking: how can you make eating fruit and veg more fun? I'm really looking forward to the students' suggestions. This is a fun way to help students build their gardening skills and spread the word about the importance of healthy food. This is an important message, and I'm passionate about children learning to grow and prepare their own food, which sets them up for a lifetime of good health.

Finally, I'd like to acknowledge the many dedicated teachers in schools across my electorate who so generously give their time to start and grow school gardens and support their students' learning—teachers like Sharryn Bowes from Jilliby Public School, which now has a garden, a chicken run and, with the support of the P&C, repurposed a classroom to a kitchen.

I encourage all students to enter the competition before it closes on 28 September. From the examples that I've seen at Gorokan Public School, Toukley Public School and Tacoma Public School, I'm sure that there will be really good high-quality entries this year. I'm keen to sit on the judging panel and decide who will win my From School Garden to Plate competition this year.