Moonah Primary School has built on the SAKG philosophy of teaching children positive food habits for life. We are connecting students’ kitchen garden learning to what is sold in our school canteen. This year our canteen was relocated into our kitchen building (below) and all pre-packaged food eliminated from the menu. The canteen now offers healthy, handmade, ‘real’ food freshly prepared from scratch, using quality seasonal produce. Our canteen meals are served through glass sliding doors which open to a welcoming outdoor space with tables and seating (below) located next to our large, productive garden. Students sit and enjoy their food together near where their food is prepared and beside the garden where the food is grown. This physical relationship between the kitchen, canteen and garden creates strong connections between the food learning taking place in kitchen and garden classes and the healthy food available in the canteen.
Our Kitchen and Garden Specialists and Canteen Manager collaborate to create termly menus in response to seasonal produce availability. In addition to the regular canteen menu which features two lunch choices per week, a weekly Specials blackboard offers favourite dishes from that weeks’ cooking classes. The Specials board also enables the canteen to flexibly respond to donations of produce or excess harvest from the garden by offering a range of hand-made, healthy items as weekly specials, which makes the most of produce when it is available, and minimises food waste.
Our canteen is aiming for a zero waste policy for food packaging. We have eliminated all pre-packaged food and single-use packaging, including bottled drinks. This has led to significant reductions in the amount of plastic littering our school playground. All the food offered in the canteen is handmade from scratch using fresh produce, and we have stopped using single-use food serving containers and switched to biodegradable containers, which we will incorporate into our composting systems in the garden. Students collect food scraps from cooking classes, the canteen and every classroom daily. The waste (or resource, as we like to think of it!) is deposited into one of the four compost bins installed in our garden beds, or chopped up finely and put in one of our four worm farms. The rich compost, worm castings and juice we collect are put back into the garden to enrich our soil. The food grown in our school garden and used in kitchen classes and canteen is grown with the shortest possible food miles – none! Our garden receives the compost we make at school in our five compost bins and we collect rainwater from the kitchen roof for use on the garden.