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Schools’ Healthy Eating Initiatives Boosted

Schools’ Healthy Eating Initiatives Boosted By Nutrition Fund

Children at Woolston School will be learning to blend, wriggle and grow, thanks to receiving $3,600 from the Ministry of Health’s Nutrition Fund.

Woolston is one of 20 schools and early childhood centres in the Canterbury region to have received money from the Nutrition Fund, which forms part of the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Eating Healthy Action (HEHA) strategy and aligns with the Food and Nutrition Guidelines implemented by the Ministry of Education earlier this year.

The Nutrition Fund has been established to assist schools, early childhood centres and communities to focus on creating healthy food environments by supporting innovative and sustainable initiatives. One of the criteria for funding is that schools and early childhood centres attend a Mission On Workshop on the Food and Nutrition guidelines, which helps stimulate ideas for how the money could be spent.

Cathy Robinson, the Canterbury HEHA Development Manager was responsible for administering the fund locally. “We were delighted by the number and quality of applications we received from local groups. Some of the ideas the schools and early childhood centres came up with were very innovative, and it will be really interesting for us to follow their progress”.

The project from Woolston School was one which particularly impressed the Fund administrators. Titled Blend, Wriggle and Grow, the proposal aims to introduce children to many aspects of healthy nutrition through a variety of fun and innovative activities – blending smoothies, creating and maintaining a wriggly worm farm, and growing their own fruit in a mini orchard to name but a few.

Worm farms and Bokashi Buckets were a recurring theme in many of the applications, as were edible gardens and orchards.

Cathy says “A lot of thought had gone in to many of the proposals we received, and we believe the funding will make a genuine difference to the eating habits of those children involved in the new projects”.

More than $100,000 has been allocated in this first round of funding. The second round of the Nutrition Fund for schools and early childhood centres closes on 30 April 2008.

ENDS

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