Connecting with Culture through the kitchen garden

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Bringing the community together is an empowering and exciting collaboration, and, for the Sunbury Aboriginal Corporation youth group, a weekly one. Meeting every Thursday afternoon, primary and secondary students from the community come together after school hours to connect with each other and Culture, and run hands-on educational activities, including tending to their flourishing bush tucker garden and learning how to cook up a storm.  

When Christie (Healthy Kids Advisor – City of Hume) was introduced to the youth group they already had a wonderful set up, with Elizabeth Smith, the Youth Group Coordinator, passionately taking the lead in enhancing the student’s outdoor education. With their existing raised garden beds, the group were excited to get Christie’s support in sourcing and planting more bush tucker plants to get their garden going.



Elizabeth has been working with the youth group for just over a year, supporting the young people of the community to engage in learning useful outdoor life skills, such as fishing, and connecting this to Culture and Tradition. With Christie’s help, they have also been refining their gardening skills and knowledge. Together, they walk through the garden and plant Native herbs, learning all about the plant and herb life cycle, while discussing useful gardening techniques such as taking plant cuttings. The older students have even begun linking their garden sessions to their interests in biology, taking it a step further and digging deeper into the science behind it all.


“We’ve been working closely with Christie over the past 12 months and have found her knowledge in gardening and cooking invaluable, whilst we’ve been planning, planting and eating our produce from our Bush Tucker Garden.”

- Elizabeth Smith, Youth Group Coordinator at Sunbury Aboriginal Corporation


To complement this, the group have also been participating in monthly cooking sessions with Christie. Creating and tasting delicious, fresh dishes using the ingredients from their native herb patch, students are then able to take the recipes home to share with their families, completing the cycle of growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing. With an abundance of Warrigal greens at the moment, students have been learning how to make Warrigal greens pesto and fritters packed with Warrigal greens and ricotta. Another favourite has been creating pickled pepper berry pigface and karkalla. “The best part,” says Christie, “is that we get to use the pigface and karkalla that we planted together.”



Repurposing leftovers has been another kitchen strategy the group have picked up, making fresh muffins using apples leftover from the fruit Christie supplied for Healthy, Happy, Deadly day. Together with Christie, they sprinkled the apples with ground up dried cinnamon myrtle and tested baking their muffins in the air fryer. To enhance these sessions, Christie is also helping the group source an electric fry pan, to go with their existing air fryer they have been using to dry their herbs.

Looking ahead, Elizabeth hopes to source kayaks for the group, for their fishing activities, and continue to build the youth's life skills that also double as physical activity. 

About the Healthy Kids Advisors initiative 

The Healthy Kids Advisors initiative is delivered by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and supported by the Victorian Government and Australian Government. 

This community engagement initiative is active in 13 priority communities to spread pleasurable food education and encourage participation in the state-wide Vic Kids Eat Well movement. 

In collaboration with local health promoters, Council and community, our Advisors offer free support and simple ideas to boost healthy and delicious food and drink in schools, sports clubs, after-hours care and council-run facilities. 

Want more information?

Visit the Healthy Kids Advisors news page or contact us at

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