A lesson in fresh, healthy food

Deakin University students are helping dedicated youngsters grow, cook and prepare their own fresh food as part of a new partnership.

The university is helping Port Fairy Consolidated School continue its involvement with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.

The initiative involves children learning how to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal food.

It aims to set good examples and engage children's curiosity and taste buds to provide positive food experiences that will form the basis of lifelong habits.

The school is in its third year of involvement with the program, but its two years of funding ended in 2010.

Six third-year students from the Bachelor of Education (Primary) course at the Warrnambool campus began working with pupils yesterday.

Lecturer in science and maths education Dr Sandra Herbert said the new partnership provided benefits for the school and Deakin.

"It is an opportunity for Deakin to add value to the school experience and assist the pupils, and it also provides a good, school-based learning environment for our students," Dr Herbert said.

"Deakin students are involved in helping to run sessions in the gardens and kitchen and also help with the literacy side of the program."

Port Fairy Consolidated School teacher Kirsty Marwood said four volunteers were needed for each session.

They get to learn gardening and kitchen skills and we hope it teaches them to take responsibility for their eating habits and that they can grow their own fresh food," she said.

Ms Marwood said the program now needed to be self-sufficient after its funding ended.

"It can only work with the help of volunteers," she said.

"We mainly have parents and grandparents so it is great that the Deakin students are able to volunteer to help."

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