Slow Food Noosa to Sponsor New Kitchen Garden Project

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Slow Food Noosa to Sponsor New Kitchen Garden Project

(Have (slow) garden -- will eat!)

There have always been veggie patches in school grounds though these days, with the involvement of chefs like Jamie Oliver and Stephanie Alexander, many people are realising the immense value of edible gardens in more ways than one.

As part of its philosophy to educate the public about the benefits of sustainable farming practices as well as introducing children to the joys of growing and eating healthy organic vegetables, Slow Food Noosa has become an enthusiastic sponsor of these School Kitchen Gardens in two of our local primary schools.

The programs have been a massive success and as a result Noosa Slow Food is looking at sponsoring another school (or two) interested in embracing the School Kitchen Garden Program.

In 2007 and 2008, thanks to sponsorship from Slow Food Noosa, permaculture educator Leonie Shanahan from Edible School Gardens has set up edible gardens in two schools on the Sunshine Coast including Peregian Community College and Noosaville Primary School.

Slow Food Noosa has raised up to $6000 from functions and events to contribute to the set up and ongoing running costs for each garden for one year. The program requires the school to match the funding and commit to the longevity of the garden.

A typical format for the garden includes :
* The children produce their own garden design in consultation with Leonie
* Donations of materials and landscaping supplies are sourced and a date is decided for the set up day
* A set up day involving the whole school community where the garden beds, worm tower, herb spiral and compost pit are installed ensuring optimum soil preparation and recycling practices in accordance with permaculture principles
* Planting of the seedlings is another exciting day a couple of weeks later, often 300 seedlings are planted in the first day
* Harvest and Feast days are held throughout the year, where locally renowned chefs like Katrina Ryan from the Spirit House, Matt Golinski from Ready, Steady, Cook and Daniel Mosedale from the Blue Angel conduct a hands-on cooking class.

The children are solely responsible for the management of the garden under Leonie's stewardship which Leonie says 'encourages a sense of ownership, commitment and team work".

"The school garden concept is a growing global movement and is much more than growing vegetables," Slow Food Noosa President, Daniel Mosedale said.

"The recently established national association of Slow Food Australia has developed a 'Dirty Hands' project to improve food, health and ecological knowledge through the development of school and community gardens," he said.

"Slow Food in Noosa is already teaching children how to grow healthy food and how to create healthy meals, empowering children with this knowledge and survival skills for life."

"Parents find that children who previously turned up their noses at vegetables become keen to experience new foods and flavours," Leonie said.

Interested schools should contact Leonie Shanahan at Slow Food Noosa, preferably by 28 February 2009, for more information.


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