Vegetable growers around the country are encouraging educators and primary school teachers to take advantage of the resources from the CSIRO’s Taste & Learn program aimed at encouraging kids to eat more vegetables.
The Taste & Learn Program has been developed by CSIRO as a strategic levy investment using the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund. The program uses activities shown to improve kids’ willingness to eat vegetables and provides primary school teachers with simple, hands-on lesson plans aligned with the Australian curriculum. The program will be adapted for use in long day care settings.
Set over five weeks, the Taste & Learn program supports student learning by boosting literacy and science skills, amongst others. They learn to describe vegetables in an objective way, such as what their texture, colour or flavour is like, which helps children understand what they like about the vegetables they are eating.
AUSVEG Deputy Chair Belinda Adams, a leafy vegetable grower from the Gold Coast and former primary school teacher, said that Taste & Learn will be an important program to help encourage children to want to eat more vegetables and to equip teachers with the resources to teach kids about their vegetables.
“Educating children about vegetables and encouraging them to want to eat more is critical to improving the health and wellbeing of our children. A vegetable-rich diet in childhood has been proven time and time again to improve physical and physiological development in children and can be a strong influence in dietary choices as they move into adulthood,” said Ms Adams.
“If we can teach our children and students to eat a variety of vegetables and appreciate the taste and texture of different vegetables, then we can dramatically improve the health outcomes of the Australian population well into the future.”
“Vegetable growers are deeply passionate about producing high quality vegetables and are extremely proud of the work that goes into growing the produce that makes its way to consumers.”
“If, as an industry, we can help students and children learn to love and appreciate their vegetable, then everyone will benefit, from growers, to parents, children and even government from improved health outcomes, reduced health spending and increased vegetables sales.”
The Taste & Learn program is aligned to the Australian curriculum and has been tested with over 1,600 students and 116 educators across 25 primary schools in New South Wales and South Australia. Primary schools can