The food fight arming students with tools to tackle climate change

The food fight arming students with tools to tackle climate change

By Rachael Ridley  April 21st, 2021

Reducing food waste is an effective way to address climate change. But how do we get Australians to take action? Food rescue charity OzHarvest has taken on the challenge with an educational program for primary school students that gives them practical tools to make changes in their homes.

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OzHarvest’s Food Education And Sustainability Training, or FEAST, is a curriculum-aligned program for Years 5 and 6 that aims to create future change-makers through education and hands-on learning. The lessons, including proactive cooking classes, teach students the importance of reducing the amount of food that ends up in the bin and how to get creative in the kitchen to waste less food while eating healthy.

More than 10,000 students have already taken part in the 7-10-week program, which can be easily adapted to suit the needs of each school. The program has shown an impressive success rate among participants, with schools reporting a 95% increase in student knowledge, understanding and positive behaviour change regarding food waste and nutrition. 

FEAST Program Manager, Amelia Berner, says the program is all about real-world learning to build resilience and confidence in kids. 

"FEAST provides teachers with the resources to teach their students important life skills in preparing healthy and delicious food and practical ways to fight food waste," Berner said.

To enable teachers to confidently lead the program in their school, OzHarvest offers accredited face-to-face or online training and 'kitchen kits' to make cooking in the classroom accessible to all schools. A teacher and student portal is also available featuring resources such as lesson plans, student worksheets, videos, recipes books and practical guides. 

Belmore South students participating in OzHarvest's FEAST

Belmore South students participating in OzHarvest's FEAST

FEAST has received positive feedback from teachers and students alike. Bellevue Hill Public School educator, Eliza Levy, said she would recommend it to all teachers. 

“FEAST is so important because students need to know where food comes from to value it. After completing the program, the students walked away and said, ‘I can make a change!’.”

The program has also received recognition from the prestigious Banksia Sustainability Awards, taking home the prize for non-government organisations and not-for-profits. While the team at Planet Ark were hoping to see fellow finalist The Australasian Recycling Label win, we’re not sore losers and were happy to see the award go to such a worthwhile program! 

To find out whether your school is eligible for funding, register your interest with OzHarvest.

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Rachael Ridley

Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature and immersing herself in arts and culture.

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