Last month I took part in a Perth school garden tour of local primary schools participating in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.
Our first stop was East Maddington Primary School where the students kindly gave us a guided tour under very wet conditions. No watering was going to be needed in the garden that day!
The teachers encourage as many garden related educational activities as possible. Here the children have been involved in both recycling and garden sculpture.
At Westfield Park Primary School we were very impressed by their Aquaponics System.It's not hard to see how science can be fun when it's taught with such a hands-on approach. Apparently the kids favourite task is removing caterpillars from the vegetables.
Cooking, gardening and learning go hand in hand in these schools. Organisation is especially important in the kitchen when children this young are cooking. They're surprisingly skilled and capable.
At Bertram Primary they have a large garden to ensure they have enough produce and teaching area for their many pupils. Even so the schools require donations of fruit and vegetables to subsidise what they can grow.
This is where we enjoyed a freshly prepared organic lunch which was served proudly to us by the students themselves. The schools have an adult kitchen helper and a garden helper who coordinate the growing and cooking. These are not necessarily teachers, but specialists in their field.
Lunch : Roast pumpkin and feta pies / chicken kofta / spinach, oven-roasted tomato and bocconcini salad with eggplant couscous. Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds!
Spearwood Alternative School have a very modern and colourful teaching kitchen. The children told us stories about stinging nettles and the exciting plans that they have for their garden.
Palmyra Primary School is the only school that haven't opted for retained raised beds which shows that a kitchen garden can still be achieved without them. Many of the schools have compost systems and keep chickens.