Long term solution in food education needed
28 May, 2013
Long term solution in food education needed, not just food in schools
The government’s plan to feed hungry children in school is laudable but it is a short term solution that represents an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.
Garden to Table Trust believes the ‘food in schools’ programme does not break the cycle of dependency that already exists among many struggling families. To paraphrase a Chinese proverb, if you give a child a meal you feed him for a day; teach him how to put food on the table and you feed him for a lifetime.
Supplying the food via schools does not arm adults of the future with skills that will help them as they grow and have families themselves.
The Garden to Table Programme is a proven solution – children as young as seven years old can learn life skills they will have forever. It is positive for their health and long term will help address New Zealand’s growing obesity problem.
A sibling programme in Australia is highly successful teaching thousands of children from more than 350 schools. But this has been government funded for some years.
Garden to Table teaches young children how to grow, harvest, prepare and share food using purpose-built gardens and kitchen facilities. The Garden to Table programme is cheap to run costing less than one full time equivalent staff member per school after an initial investment in the garden and the kitchen classroom.
Initiatives that provide long term value both for those who receive the benefits and also for the nation need to be fostered. The Garden to Table Trust’s activities are one example of a long term solution that government needs to urgently investigate.