Garden to Table is on a mission to create stronger and healthier communities throughout Aotearoa, by empowering children with essential life skills to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal, and environmentally sustainable food.
In recent years, knowledge and skills in the kitchen and garden have been lost, and this has negatively impacted our collective health, environment, and social outcomes. Garden to Table Charitable Trust aims to disrupt these patterns, and inspire children to think about food differently.
Through practical, hands-on learning, the holistic food education programme helps children develop a love for fresh food, and teaches skills to last a lifetime. Around the country, schools develop their own productive fruit and vegetable garden that the kids take pride in maintaining, they have an efficient compost bin for food scraps, and home-style kitchens where meals are prepared using the freshly grown produce.
Garden to Table was born in 2009 out of a desire to disrupt the disconnection between our land and the table, and to transform the way children think about food. Fast forward 13 years – and the programme continues to thrive, with more than 200 schools[NE1] across the motu now involved.
No one can tell it better than the Kiwi kids themselves.
Here’s what a few tamariki around the country had to say about Garden to Table:
Beyond the School Gate
Garden to Table Positively Impacts Our Tamariki’s Hauora (health & wellbeing)
- By building the knowledge and skills to grow and cook fresh food, tamariki establish the foundations for lifelong healthy habits
- Research has shown that children in the Garden to Table programme increased their consumption of fruit and vegetables, were able to name vegetables they couldn’t previously, and were more likely to try new food* – disrupting the growing occurrence of obesity and diet-related health challenges.
- Through spending time outside being physically active in the garden, the kids gain access to the therapeutic and sensory benefits of green spaces.
- At the end of a Garden to Table session, tamariki sit down together to share food and kōrero about their experiences – where they can further nurture their mental wellbeing through enriching social connections with their peers.
- Nationwide, just 57% of children eat 3 or more servings of vegetables per day. But 85% of Garden to Table students surveyed eat 3 or more servings of vegetables per day(as reported by their parents; NZ national average is 57%)
“I am a huge advocate for the Garden to Table program. Cooking is a life skill many children do not learn at home, which impacts their eating habits and health and well-being well into adulthood”.