Pick of the Crop helping kids eat more vegetables

A woman drinking water from a pink water bottle.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland’s whole-of-school healthy eating initiative Pick of the Crop continues to encourage students to eat more vegetables and fruit.

In 2023, Pick of the Crop reached 115 schools and over 24,000 primary school students across Queensland.

One of schools to join the program this year, Meringandan State School in the Darling Downs, told ABC News that Pick of the Crop had already had a positive impact on students’ attitudes towards vegetables.

The latest National Health Survey revealed the number of children who don’t eat vegetables every day has tripled in the last decade.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland Chief Executive Officer Dr Robyn Littlewood said it had never been more important to start building healthy habits in children.

‘Pick of the Crop is a key initiative that underlines our Generation Queensland (GenQ) vision for all Queensland children born today to experience better health outcomes than the generations before them,’ Dr Littlewood said.

‘One of the strengths of this initiative is the ways our Pick of the Crop regional coordinators support schools to inspire and engage students in learning about vegetables and fruits through fun and educational activities.’

Pick of the Crop 2023 highlights:

  • In North Queensland, Pick of the Crop schools participated in the annual Sustainability Challenge, which encourages students to use innovation in agriculture to sustain their school vegetable garden or fruit orchard. Kalamia State School in Brandon, south of Townsville, won an all-expenses-paid farm excursion for designing sustainable insect traps to stop some very hungry insects from eating their produce. The students had to consider factors such as stability, rainfall, the size of the insects and suitable materials in their design.
  • In the North Coast region, students from Booyal Central State School, southwest of Bundaberg, worked with 2013 My Kitchen Rules winners Dan and Steph to create the Booyal Bunyip Burger using vegetables and herbs from their Pick of the Crop garden.
  • In South East Queensland, 12 schools across Logan took part in Mini Farmer Day to celebrate farmers and teach students where fresh food comes from. Students and teachers dressed up as farmers, planted seedlings and received fruit and vegetables boxes from local growers.
  • In Bundaberg, 145 watermelons were donated by Marto Farms for 23 local Pick of the Crop schools to celebrate their participation in the program.

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