ALP promises funding for Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program
The Australian Labor Party (ALP) has said that it, if elected, it will restore $6 million federal funding for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, a successful initiative that teaches children in early learning and school settings about food in a fun, hands-on way – setting them up for a healthier life.
One in four Australian children is overweight or obese. The ALP said that, without intervention, many of them will become overweight or obese adults. The party called it “a national health crisis” with “poor nutrition a leading contributor”.
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, initiated by the respected food writer and chef, addresses the crisis by helping children form positive food habits. Children learn about fruit, vegetables, and herbs – how to grow them and how to use them to make healthy food.
The program attracts the overwhelming support of children, parents, and teachers. The last federal Labor government rolled this program out nationally. But the current Australian Government has provided the program with no federal support.
Labor’s new $6 million commitment will restore federal support for around 800 schools that have already implemented the program thanks to funding from federal and state Labor governments.
It will also support at least 1,200 additional schools and early learning centres to implement the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program – meaning more than 2,000 communities around Australia will benefit from Labor’s investment.
Of these, around 180 schools in three disadvantaged regions will receive intense services and supports. Labor will announce these regions after further consultations with the Stephanie Alexander Foundation and local communities.
“Labor believes obesity in both children and adults is a critical public health issue – so it’s critical we invest in preventative health,” said Shadow Minister for Education and Training Tanya Pilbersek.
Stephanie Alexander AO said that of all her years influencing Australia’s food culture, the Kitchen Garden Program is the achievement she is most proud of. She would love for every Australian child to experience it at their school or service.
“It is so sad to me that for so many children the experience of sitting around a table and sharing a meal is something they are not experiencing on a daily basis,” Ms Alexander said.
“I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of our Kitchen Garden Program having this amazingly important injection of funds.”