Meet the first 10 Start Small, Dream Big winners!

Friday, June 28, 2024

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, 20 Start Small, Dream Big grants have been awarded, thanks to our community partner Coles!

We received over 1400 applications, 50% of which came from the early childhood sector. The applications revealed some beautiful stories. Our team meticulously selected the winning applications to ensure a fair representation of every state, territory, and sector type, with a balanced distribution across regional, remote, and metropolitan areas.

Start Small Dream Big map

Each winner has been awarded $1500 to set up or expand their cooking or gardening facilities, along with a two-year membership to the Kitchen Garden Program. 

For those who applied but were unsuccessful, or for other schools and sectors interested in starting their journey with us, make sure you attend our special webinar on Wednesday 31 July to learn affordable and effective ways to get your Kitchen Garden Program up and running.

Start Small, Dream Big webinar

Ready to meet the first 10 winners? Let’s go!

All abilities high school promotes healthy living: Rutherford Technology High School, NSW

Start small: With six support classes supporting students with a range of disabilities, abilities, and specific needs, Rutherford already enjoys working hard with staff to plan, prepare, create and serve meals to staff and students within the school. 

Dream big: Their new funds will allow the faculty to purchase plants, fertiliser, fresh soil, mulch, gardening tools, netting and stakes to protect their new plants and seeds as they grow. As a new member of the Kitchen Garden Program, students will learn how to identify when fruit and vegetables are ready for harvesting and how to pick them correctly. 

Flood-affected school empowers students to learn sustainable skills: One Mile State School, QLD

Start small: Following the 2022 Gympie floods, One Mile State School will use a garden to engage students to develop ideas and plan for innovation in sustainable learning. Funds will assist with buying quality garden beds, soil and tools for students get started. The face-to-face and online professional development included with the Kitchen Garden Program membership will build the knowledge of educators around successful planting and harvesting practices.

Dream big: The school will harvest produce to share with the school tuckshop for healthy lunches. They hope to create opportunities for students to prepare recipes in the school kitchen from the recipes provided from the program membership to share healthy food with the community.

Holsworthy High School

Isolated community enhances access to fresh-grown food: Alyangula Area School, NT

Start small: Located on the remote island of Groote Eylandt off the Northern Territory, Alyangula Area School caters for students from preschool to Year 12. Most of the island’s food and supplies are delivered weekly by barge. With their new grant, the school can now purchase quality soil, a greenhouse, and a compost bin and upgrade the watering system to cultivate their own fresh produce.

Dream big: The school will enhance the school’s VET courses and fortnightly kitchen classes to enrich their students' educational and culinary experiences and promote sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Breakfast Club and food donations to receive a boost from the garden: West Ulverstone Primary School, TAS

Start small: The rising cost of living affecting families in this area has meant the school’s Breakfast Club is a haven for many students each morning. School staff will transform an old sandpit into a small garden space to educate the Prep-1-2 class about environmental sustainability, healthy eating, life cycles and cooperation “in a meaningful, real-world way”.

Dream big: They will build upon the small garden space, adding a variety of garden beds to grow enough food to donate to the West Ulverstone Neighbourhood House who provide support to the wider West Ulverstone community.

Wheatbelt town adds curriculum-linked farm-to-table learning: Bencubbin Primary School, WA

Start small: A school garden will be built with seeds, tools, and materials for raised beds, kickstarting a hands-on gardening experience. In the kitchen, the grant will fund basic equipment like knives, cutting boards, and cookware, enabling students to learn fundamental culinary skills and engage in farm-to-table learning – essential for this small wheatbelt town.

Dream big: A comprehensive Kitchen Garden Program will supply a school canteen with fruits and vegetables, reducing their ecological footprint and promoting self-sufficiency. The school will integrate the program into the curriculum so students learn science, math, and sustainability through gardening and cooking.

“Ultimately, we aspire to be a model for rural schools, demonstrating the power of small steps towards a healthier, greener future.”
Karen Swaine, Principal

Bush medicine garden for preschoolers: Rona Glynn Preschool, NT

Start small: This preschool will establish hands-on learning through a bush medicine and bush tucker garden. The purchase of garden tools, seeds, and materials will help them initiate this place-based project where children can cultivate an understanding and appreciation for indigenous ways of knowing. Harvested ingredients will be used in cooking and wellbeing experiences, fostering a holistic approach to education.

Dream big: Through partnerships with local Indigenous communities, they aim to deepen their understanding of traditional practices and knowledge to promote cultural awareness and empower young learners to connect with the land and each other.

Kitchen trolley and bush tucker garden nourishes community childcare centre: New University Preschool and Child Care Centre, ACT

Start small: This non-profit community childcare centre will restock its preschool garden beds with seasonal fruit and vegetables and set up a versatile kitchen trolley to empower young toddlers and infants to participate in the program. Staff were particularly excited to experience the professional development opportunities that come with their early childhood membership.

Dream big: Staff will teach children the seasonal produce of Ngunnawal land to foster a love of Country and to encourage the sharing of nourishing food with families.

Community-led service expands on nutritious offerings: Dalaigur Preschool & Children’s Services Aboriginal Corporation, NSW

Start small: Dalaigur is a not-for-profit Aboriginal-owned and operated Early Childhood service. It provides nutritious meals each day to 90 children. Its new membership with the Kitchen Garden Program will embed sustainable practices into the service and lead to positive growth in understanding the value of healthy foods and developmental outcomes.

Dream big: They hope to offer excess produce to the community and are eager to further train their educators to build on their growing knowledge. Bush tucker ingredients will be incorporated into the kitchen to ensure strong foundations of cultural knowledge and understanding.

Resourceful rural schools receives helping hand: Tawonga Primary School, VIC

Start small: Multi-aged groups already garden in their rural kitchen garden and grounds, cooking delicious meals and building build items for the school out of recycled materials. The school has been very thrifty, building cooking classes from op-shop cooking utensils, donated furniture and holey gloves to ensure all students have hands on learning experiences, regardless of our thinly spread resources. All these items can now be upgraded for safety and success!

Dream big: They plan to link the Kitchen Garden Program to the curriculum, taking lessons to the next level and fully utilising the kitchen and garden spaces on offer. Plans to add reticulation through a greenhouse and the gardens are also in the works.

Parent-run children’s centre focuses on garden-grown cooking: Holbury Childrens Centre, VIC

Start small: This small, but growing centre has a management team made entirely of parent volunteers. With some minor landscaping works, a kitchen trolley and essential kitchen items, they will show kids the joy of growing their own veggies and cooking some simple, delicious food with what they’ve picked. The two-year membership will give their educators access to the Foundation’s expert team for tailored advice and support.

Dream big: In time, they hope to grow and harvest enough produce for the children to take home meals to share with their families. They also plan to share their learnings and experience with other kindergartens in the Blackburn South area, encouraging them to follow their lead.

We are thrilled to welcome these grant winners into our kitchen garden community! Congratulations to all the incredible schools and services who were selected and thank you to the enormous numbers of educators and communities who applied.

Join a community of schools and early childhood services right around Australia teaching young people how to grow, harvest, prepare and share! Email or find out more.


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