Food Sustainability and Nutrition Education with OzHarvest’s FEAST

Food Sustainability and Nutrition Resources | FEAST
Emma (Teach Starter)

Written by Emma (Teach Starter)

Are you interested in inspiring your students to eat healthily, reduce food waste and become more educated on food sustainability?

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We all know that learning about nutrition is incredibly important. It’s the best tool we have as teachers to help our students grow strong, healthy bodies. But how much time do you take educating your students to value their food and where it came from? I’m guessing not as much!

We’ve partnered with the wonderful people from OzHarvest to help you do just that! They have created FEAST (Food Education and Sustainability Training), a curriculum-aligned program for Grades 5 and 6 to help educate and inspire children to eat healthily and do their part to avoid food waste.

Make sure you head to the OzHarvest FEAST website to learn more about the resources available and how it can help your school.

What is OzHarvest?

Founded by Ronni Kahn in 2004, OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. They collect quality surplus food from thousands of businesses around Australia, including supermarkets, restaurants, hotels – you name it!

Food Sustainability and Nutrition Resources | FEAST - OzHarvest Education

FEAST students at School Cookbook Launch, with Ronni Kahn AO (CEO & founder OzHarvest) and Colin Fassnidge (FEAST Ambassador). Credit Lucy Leonardi.

Every week OzHarvest saves over 180 tonnes of food from going to landfill and delivers it to charitable agencies who help to make a positive difference to men, women and children who don’t have a reliable source of food.

What an amazing cause!

Incredibly, OzHarvest has provided over 135 million meals and saved over 45,000 tonnes of food from landfill.

 The importance of Food Education and Sustainability Training

You may be wondering why we are so excited about educating our young folk about food waste! It comes down to some pretty scary facts:

  • Over 7.3 million tonnes of food ends up as landfill each year.
  • One in five shopping bags ends up in the bin. This is equal to approximately $1,036 worth of groceries per household each year.
  • 35% of the average household bin is food waste.
  • In Australia, five million people experience food insecurity (or, not being able to rely on readily-available food) each year. A quarter are children.
  • One child in every classroom goes to bed or school hungry every day.
  • Nationally, 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese and many do not eat enough fresh fruit and veg. This affects how they learn at school and can lead to poor physical and mental health.
  • Half of all food wasted comes from the home. So, the lessons we give students on food waste in the classroom will help them make a big difference at home and in their communities.
Food Sustainability and Nutrition Resources | FEAST - Children Celebrate Feast

FEAST students at School Cookbook launch with FEAST food, recipes and resources. Credit Lucy Leonardi.

But I compost all my leftovers – doesn’t this count?

Composting may be incredibly beneficial to the environment, but what about the other things that are thrown away as part of food waste?

With each meal that you are served, there’s a back story! Resources such as food, water, labour, energy and money go into producing the food we eat. All this is wasted alongside the surplus food we throw into the bin.

Why Does So Much Food Go to Waste?

Most of us have it very lucky in Australia – if we’ve run out of something in the pantry, we can normally just pop to the shops and stock up! However, due to the availability of food, there is often a perception that food is expendable.

It’s difficult to truly value food when it is so cheap and so readily available! As well as this, young students do not always understand where the food they have in their pantries comes from. OzHarvest’s school ambassadors say it is shocking to hear that some kids think food just comes from the supermarket or that bread comes from a bread tree!

So, how can we avoid this? By making it a focus of our lessons, of course!

Food Sustainability and Nutrition Resources - preparing recipes

FEAST in action – cooking in the classroom (no kitchen required). Credit Vanessa Rowe.

Help your students to become food waste fighters and avoid unnecessary food waste at school, and at home!

Fighting food waste with FEAST

Educating our children is one of the best ways to engineer change in our society. Instilling a passion for environmental awareness and protection from a young age helps our students grow into future change-makers!

FEAST is a food waste education program from OzHarvest. Specifically designed for Year 5 and 6 students, the adaptable teacher-led program runs for 7-10 weeks, but can be changed to suit your school’s particular needs. This STEM project-based learning program focusing on food and fibre and the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability.

Consisting of fun, engaging lessons filled with healthy and nutrition-packed recipes, your students will love participating in this hands-on program!

Focusing on food waste, FEAST encourages students to design their own recipes using food that might have otherwise been wasted. As well as this, the FEAST program also helps to enhance food literacy, social competence, problem-solving skills, autonomy and a sense of independence in our young students.

OzHarvest FEAST and Food Sustainability

OzHarvest provides everything you need to get FEAST implemented at your school, including fully equipped kitchen kits!

In your curriculum package, you also get access to:

  • the unit of work
  • detailed lesson plans (10x)
  • student activities and online worksheets
  • optional learning experiences such as a FEAST practical cooking guide
  • hot & cold recipes for cooking in the classroom
  • online learning resources to run the course online including worksheets and lessons.
OzHarvest FEAST Schoolkids in the garden

FEAST students holding their School Cookbook “Rescued Recipes” as the final product of the program.

Like any good FEAST, it’s designed to be fun, engaging and filled with good food! The culmination of the program is the ‘School Cookbook’ which brings to life everything the students have learned about food waste and healthy eating. The program encourages students to influence their whole school community by hosting a Cookbook launch and sharing their knowledge on the topic.

FEAST at Home

If you’re not quite ready to implement FEAST in the classroom, your students don’t have to miss out!

OzHarvest also provides FREE activities for home learning. These include fun infographics, hands-on activities and even more fun recipes!

OzHarvest FEAST Home Activity Cards

Simply send home the recipes and activities for your students to complete with their families – everyone can learn about food sustainability!

Encourage Your Students to Spread the Word on Food Sustainability

What’s the next step? Encourage your students to reach out to their local food providers, such as the school tuckshop or canteen, to see how they can have an even bigger impact on food waste.

Share ideas, take action and bring the whole school onboard!

OzHarvest is happy to announce there is funding available for eligible schools across Australia to sign up to the program, so register your school now! This gives schools unlimited access to all educational resources, professional development training, kitchen kit and ongoing support – all the schools need are the groceries! Simple express your interest to learn more about funding for your school.

Sign up to FEAST at the OzHarvest FEAST Website.

Banner image provided by OzHarvest Education

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