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Children on King Island have been nurturing their own fruit and vegetable garden so they can have fresh produce every day.
The project, led by King Island Child Care & Early Learning Centre Inc, first partnered with local shops to provide fresh fruit and vegetable platters at morning tea to children aged 0 to 12. Then they worked with Phoenix House community garden to teach children how to grow and prepare produce.
The children had the opportunity to tend their own fruit, vegetables and herbs in a garden at the side of the Centre. They learned the difference between weeds and vegetables, watered them with their own watering cans, and learned how to wash, cut up and cook produce before eating it. Any extra vegetables and herbs were available to families to take home.
Janelle Batey, mum to Hugo, 4, and Lola, 2, says her children have now tasted a wide variety of different foods and have been excited to watch them grow. “Now they understand fruit and veg don’t just come from the shop. The project has normalised eating fruit and veg for them – they don’t just do it because mum and dad tell them to,” she says.
Centre Educational Leader Diane Rawlings says the project gave the children the opportunity to eat fresh fruit and vegetables every day, whilst trying a variety of different fruit which they might not usually see or have the opportunity to taste.
“This project supported families, as well as enhancing children’s learning and awareness of different fruits and vegetables. It increased their knowledge about healthy eating and the whole process of planting to eating, whilst building broader connections with the community,” Diane says.
The garden continues to yield fruit and vegetables, with the potential to have a positive impact into the future on the health and wellbeing of children and families in the community.