From paddock to party: farmers get behind end of year school celebrations

In showing end of year school celebrations can be both fun and nutritious, Bundaberg farmers are throwing their support behind healthy eating for local school students by donating a bounty of fresh fruit.

The farmers, who themselves have recently battled heavy rains and crop losses, have supplied truckful’s of watermelons, pineapples and bananas to local schools as part of the Health and Wellbeing Queensland Pick of the Crop program.

The program, which supports 13 Bundaberg region schools provides primary school children with the opportunity to learn about and eat more vegetables and fruit and meet the farmers who grow them.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQld) Chief Executive Dr Robyn Littlewood said the contribution of fruit from local growers is so telling of the generous Queensland community in which we live, with Littabella Pines and Beemart of Bundaberg getting behind growing tomorrow’s healthy adults.

“Helping our children associate celebrations with healthy food grows life-long habits and benefits the health and wellbeing of generations to come.”

“It’s true we are what we eat, and we want all Queensland children to be healthy,” said Dr Littlewood.

One in four Queensland children are overweight and by encouraging them to eat more vegetables and fruit—linked to healthy weight ranges and overall wellbeing—it helps to create positive long-term eating habits.

The majority of Bundaberg-based Pick of the Crop schools have taken up the offer of Bundaberg growers, a number of whom are providing more than 1600 students with the opportunity to enjoy fresh watermelon, pineapple and bananas in their end of year celebrations.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Managing Director, Bree Grima says despite farmers this year experiencing large rain events and crop losses, their generosity is rooted in a desire to share their love of farming and the fruits of their labour.

“Our growers are incredibly passionate about connecting with local schools and students because we know tomorrow’s farmers are out there. By linking children with industry through a variety of ways we are teaching them where their food comes from.”

Evidence abounds on the value of understanding food origins and its influence on healthy eating patterns, and the Pick of the Crop program is focused on creating a love of nutritious vegetables and fruit in schools across Queensland.

About Pick of the Crop

Pick of the Crop was established as a Health and Wellbeing signature program to tackle the ongoing and persistent low intake of vegetables among children. Through consultation and co-design with schools, growers and sector players, Pick of the Crop has developed into a whole of school healthy eating program that cuts across the whole school environment—farmer and food connections, teaching and learning programs, vegetable and fruit at schools, healthy school environments, and parent connections. The program is being piloted in state primary schools across the Bundaberg and Wide Bay, Bowen and the Burdekin, and Logan regions.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland is proud to deliver Pick of the Crop in Bundaberg in partnership with Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.