Heathcote Primary School community celebrated the official opening of the school’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen and Garden on Friday.By Bronwyn Beyers
The Heathcote Primary School community celebrated the official opening of the school’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen and Garden on Friday.
Member for Rodney Paul Weller and Greater Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell joined councillors Helen Leach and Mark Weragoda at the school to help launch the garden and kitchen, which has taken 18 months to bring from an idea into reality.
Heathcote Primary School principal Cindi Bruechert said the entire school community had worked hard to make the open day special.
‘‘It’s so wonderful, after a year and a half’s journey, to get here and finally have our official opening,’’ Ms Bruechert said.
Teacher Michael Saunders said he was amazed every day by how much the students at the school had learned from working in the kitchen garden.
‘‘The biggest success for me is that the kids have started growing food at home,’’ he said.
‘‘Now they come to school and tell me, ‘Mr Saunders, I’m growing snow peas at home’, which is just fantastic to hear.’’
School captains Taylah Kurrle and Bailey Wilson thanked everyone who had been involved in the program.
‘‘When Mrs Bruechart told us of this plan, we thought she was crazy,’’ Bailey said.
‘‘This time last year we were putting in the application for the kitchen garden and it was hard to imagine it all would turn out as good as this.
‘‘It is very rewarding going out to the garden to get the food to cook, and it’s so good to be able to do this every week.
‘‘I’m so glad that I have just scraped it in before I go to high school.
‘‘Without the support of some great people, businesses and community members we would not have been able to get this far.’’
Parent and SAKGP committee member Kym Edsall said there were a large number of people to thank including all the volunteers in the school and community.
‘‘I especially want to say to Peter Russell-Clarke that the way you engage the children and teach them about food is wonderful,’’ she said.
Ms Edsall also thanked district businesses who had donated time, money, equipment and other resources to make the Stephanie Alexander kitchen and garden happen.
‘‘The community got us over the line for the grant,’’ she said.
‘‘This is a community facility and they’re welcome to use it.’’
Senior students Ryan Comer, Pia Segafredo, Georgia Edsall-French and Kate Bordin took part in a cooking demonstration at the open day with Mr Russell-Clarke.
Mr Russell-Clarke urged attendees to remember how important it was to instill a positive attitude towards heating fresh, healthy food.
‘‘The children are not just learning to cook the food, they’re learning about why they’re eating it,’’ he said.
As well as the demonstration, Mr Russell-Clarke was full of cooking tips.
He advised everyone not to store their eggs in the fridge door because every time the door opens and closes the rattling could cause the ‘string’ which holds the yolk in the centre of the egg to break, in turn causing the yolk to break when cracked into a pan.
Mr Russell-Clarke praised the Stephanie Alexander program, urging governments to support home grown programs.
‘‘Stephanie is one of the great cooks this country has produced and we should all get behind any program that teaches our kids to grow and cook their own food,’’ he said.
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