Pick of the Crop swings into action

Pictured: Bowen State School Enviro Club helpers Georgia, Mia, Hannah and Isiah busy prepping the gardens.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland’s Pick of the Crop program has swung into action in primary schools across the Logan, Bowen and Bundaberg regions with the start of the 2021 school year.

Less than one  per cent of Queensland children eat enough vegetables and many don’t meet fruit recommendations either. Reaching all the way from the classroom to the tuckshop to the farm, Pick of the Crop is an innovative program in Queensland supporting children to learn about, see and taste vegetables and fruit through locally-agreed school initiatives.

Spotlight on: Harris Fields State School

Harris Fields State School in Logan has hit the ground running, with construction already beginning on their community veggie garden.

The School’s Pick of the Crop Champion, Kristie Morse is leading the charge, with the first goal to develop a student-led Eco Club to meet weekly, learn about environmental issues and develop creative ways to communicate learnings to their peers and parents.

Kristie said she was shocked to discover Australians create 67 million tonnes of waste annually—and the average household throws away more than $1000 of food each year. Together with the support from Principal Jo Sinclair-Jones, the school is excited Pick of the Crop provides a perfect opportunity to address the issues at their local level.

The students in the Eco Club will be responsible for designing and maintaining the school garden beds, as well as implementing a composting system for the whole school. The school also plans to run regular events to raise awareness around the importance of eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and how doing so contributes to sustainability.

In addition to the hands-on activities, curriculum is being re-imagined across the school to include stronger connections to key nutrition messages, as students discover the journey of foods from soil to stomach. Kat Cacavas, Pick of the Crop Regional Coordinator for the Logan schools, will use her nutrition and teaching expertise to support the Harris Fields community along their journey.

Spotlight on: Bowen State School

In North Queensland, Bowen State School has also started its own Enviro Club to take charge of the school vegetable garden and Pick of the Crop initiatives.

Enviro Club Students along with Senior Teacher and Pick of the Crop Champion Julie Groves meet weekly to develop ideas and plan how Bowen State School will ensure all students increase their intake of fruits and vegetables.

The club is working hard in the school’s new vegetable garden, located in the heart of the school, directly beside the tuckshop. Last week some of the club members met with local farmer, Michelle O’Regan to seek her advice on how to grow vegetables in the North Queensland climate.

The Enviro Club would like to see students from across the whole school accessing the school vegetable garden. Once produce starts sprouting, they hope students will eat it in class during morning brain breaks or at lunch. The students also plan to donate harvest items like lettuce, capsicums and tomatoes to the school tuckshop.

Teachers at the school have already begun planning inter-curricula activities that will link the Australian Curriculum to the school’s vegetable garden.

Mrs Groves said there was a real buzz within the school around the vegetable garden, with the students eager to learn how to grow their own vegetables and the teachers all jumping on board.

The three Pick of the Crop pilot locations of Bowen, Bundaberg and Logan will be actively supported to implement action plans over Terms 1 and 2, 2021.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland looks forward to sharing more inspiring stories from across our Pick of the Crop schools.

Learn more about Pick of the Crop.