SLOW Food Perth leads Food with latitude, a collaborative project with children’s environment awareness organisation Millennium Kids, to build children’s awareness of food production and indigenous food culture.
The project, launched at Lathlain primary school in Perth’s eastern suburbs during a visit to Western Australia by Slow Food international president and founder Carlo Petrini on 14 Oct 2009, will assist participating schools to fund the development of sustainable food garden partnerships in local, regional and international Millennium Kids’ school communities.
Children, their schools and school communities will learn about food production and food security, experience and appreciate indigenous food culture, celebrate food through taste education and cooking experiences, and exchange information through a participating schools’ network.
In the pilot phase, the project links primary schools in Perth, regional Western Australia and South Africa – Lathlain primary school, St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls’ junior school in Mosman Park, O’Connor primary school in Kalgoorlie and a community school at Ntshidi near the South Africa-Botswana border.
Schools will be able to communicate using web-based ‘ning’ technology through which children can take and upload school garden images and share stories between themselves, other schools and participating organisations.
Slow Food Perth has set aside a $5000 fund to support the project’s early development. Inaugural grants of $1250 will be made to participating schools, and a further 20 per cent of profits derived from Slow Food Perth events will be paid into the fund to support the project’s expansion.
Schools will be eligible to apply for a grant once they have established a Millennium Kids’ school garden with an indigenous component.
This project is seen as a pilot of the broader approach of the Slow Food Australia national project 23° Slow – which aims to link national communities bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn, from Brazil in the east to Namibia in the west, to foster the exchange of ideas and information that enhance awareness of indigenous foods, food diversity, sustainability and culture.
Catrina Aniere T 0418 923 968 or email
PIZZA and pesto at Wembley Downs – Slow Food Perth committee member and chef Vincenzo Velletri [above] shows Wembley Downs primary school children how pizza dough is worked at the school’s garden open day on 17 May 2007. Photograph by Pauline Tresise.
SLOW Food Perth has a school gardens programme, working with students, teachers and parents, to develop children’s awareness of fresh food and seasonal cycles. The programme encourages young children to learn about the source of food, soil health and the benefits and enjoyment of fresh food.
For two years the Perth convivium has been working with Wembley Downs primary school in Perth’s western suburbs and the children are now farming a thriving permaculture garden. The students tasted the benefits of their work on 17 May 2007 when Slow Food Perth committee member and chef Vincenzo Velletri help them to make pizzas with pesto created from produce they had grown.
Perth newspaper The Post reported the event: How do you get children cheerfully to eat green beans, brussel sprouts and spinach? Get them to grow it themselves. Children at Wembley Downs primary school have established a garden growing cauliflower, chinese bok choy, peas, beans, brussel sprouts, potatoes, garlic, lemongrass, sage and oregano.
Teacher Ann Evans is the driving force behind the project, supported by Slow Food Perth, which raises funds to help start projects like school gardens. Ann said she didn’t know much about gardening but through help, advice and lots of enthusiasm, the school now has a thriving garden and worm farm. The children learn about seasons, self-seeding, birds and insects, growing, cultivating and eventually preparing the food. Next term Ann is planning some regular events where the children can cook a noodle stir-fry or make a spinach risotto.
Slow Food Perth co-leader Pauline Tresise says Slow Food Perth hopes to encourage and support other primary schools to establish food gardens. See prizewinning drawings of the open day pizza-making event below.
T 08 9381 4519 Pauline Tresise