Meet the final 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 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 final 10 winners? Let’s go!

Produce swaps and “patch to plate” teaching: Stewart Child Care Services, TAS

Start small: This not-for-profit childcare service will bring their “Patch to Plate” dream to reality. 169 children will soon be able to experience a vegetable garden, bush food garden, citrus trees, composting system and worm farm.

Dream big: They plan to use the garden for future fundraising opportunities and to connect to the local community through a food/produce/seed library (adapting to their existing book library). The grant enables them to have their chef work more closely with children and educators using the recipes, resources and activities available as part of the Kitchen Garden Program membership.

Infant school plans practical kitchen solutions: Stanford Merthyr Infants School (K-2), NSW

Start small: Situated in a rural setting surrounded by a small community, this infant school developed a “Garden to Kitchen Program” where students get involved in a rotation of cooking and gardening sessions. Continuing on these first steps, students will now participate in weekly garden lessons and fortnightly cooking lessons utilising produce grown from the garden.

Dream big: Plans for a kitchen trolley are underway, so educators do not need to lug heavy tables in and out to the outdoor area for food preparation and meal sharing.

Food technology classes harvesting fresh produce: Holsworthy High School, NSW

Start small: Practical eco-friendly additions to this school garden, such as a composting system and a shaded lattice structure, will offer students an outdoor area for practical lessons in sustainability and fruit cultivation. Raised garden beds and a pallet garden constructed from recycled materials will allow students to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers. This space will contribute to a thriving Kitchen Garden Program deeply integrated with curriculum and offering continuous educational opportunities in sustainability, biology, and cultural studies.

Dream big: Food technology classes will use homegrown ingredients from the passionfruit vines, vegetable beds, and pallet garden, integrating fresh produce into their cooking lessons. The garden will feature an Indigenous mural, celebrating traditional land connections and enriching our community’s cultural appreciation.

Flood-damaged kindergarten adds native bees to their green space: Inglewood Childcare and Kindergarten, QLD

Start small: With their funds, there are plans to sow fresh seeds in their garden patch and establish an observational beehive with a native (stingless) bee colony to support pollination of their garden.

Dream big: Long term, the kindergarten will build up a seasonal seed bank and continue to expand their chicken coop with baby chicks recently arriving! With more laying hens on the horizon, they will soon be including fresh eggs in their cooking experiences.

Whole-service play-based learning: Ewin Early Learning Centre Inc, WA

Start small: With a garden in its early phase of propagation, this early childhood service can now add more seedlings for their children aged 3 to 6 to develop sustainability practices, cultural awareness, and an abundance of learning opportunities.

Dream big: They hope to further expand opportunities for all children within the centre from ages 0 to 6 years. The membership benefits of the Kitchen Garden Program will facilitate whole service play-based learning, while the grant funds will help them install more garden beds in two other outdoor play spaces. 

Ewin Early Learning Centre

Bushland community embarks on vertical garden: Mt Gravatt Community Kindergarten, QLD

Start small: With the grant funds, a vertical garden space will be installed to maximise this bushland community’s growing area. A new protective cover will safeguard produce from wildlife interference and edible native plants will be introduced to the kitchen garden.

Dream big: Their Kitchen Garden Program will become a rich platform for hands-on learning and holistic development, where children can learn how to respect and care for the land, embrace sustainability practices, and nurture a lifelong connection to nature and the traditional custodians of the land.

Passionate growers expand from tiny haybale garden: Little Grasshoppers Early Learning Centre - Coolstores, VIC

Start small: This rural childcare service has a small edible garden planted in a hay bale. They’re keen to stretch their garden area and have the educators access practical knowledge from the Kitchen Garden Program to effectively implement a thriving garden to grow food.

Dream big: The passionate team plans to create garden beds with seasonal plants to harvest and cook with the children. They believe these opportunities will generate improvements across all learning areas, from sustainability to healthy eating and everything in between.

Healthy eating goals for small farming school: Mundoo State School, QLD

Start small: Building upon their existing classroom cooking, school garden and recycling, this school can now increase capabilities in these areas with a membership in the Kitchen Garden Program.

Dream big: Their long-term goal is to provide students with greater access to immersive education that helps them develop the skills they need to be environmentally conscious global citizens who also understand the importance of healthy eating.

“Our dream would be for students to gain the skills and knowledge to become autonomous and as they progress through their primary schooling, to be able to take leadership in our school garden and cooking programs.”
Mundoo State School, QLD

Food education through shared community learning: Cummins Area School, SA

Start small: Already offering kitchen and gardening experiences for their students, this rural school will equip every learner to experience pleasurable food education. Leaning on the knowledge and award-winning success of fellow Kitchen Garden Program member, Ungarra Primary School, this new member will collaborate and seek feedback from Ungarra to build capacity, awareness and knowledge within the food education area. Currently using a small class budget and personal money to drive their kitchen and garden learning, the educators can now buy garden tools, wheelbarrows, seeds and fruit trees, as well as kitchen essentials.

Dream big: Next steps are an irrigation system, extra garden beds, an enclosed shed and a greenhouse.

Outdoor dining and upgraded cooking and growing opportunities: Cowell Early Childhood Centre (CECC), SA

Start small: Children start their education at CECC with a love of nature play and caring for their humble garden and fruit trees. The first step is for the kitchen utensils and knives to be replaced so that children can safely prepare the produce they harvest.

Dream big: The centre will extend the garden to include vegetable patches and picnic tables, fully immersing children in the Foundation’s “grow, harvest, prepare, and share” mindset.

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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