Most primary schools across the ACT are involved in Fresh Tastes, so there’s a good chance your school is taking part!
Fresh Tastes is a free ACT Government service for Canberra primary schools, to make healthy food and drinks a bigger part of everyday life at school. It was launched in 2014 and since then more and more schools have come on board and had fantastic results.
Fresh Tastes supports schools over three years to take a whole school approach to influence their food and drink culture. Many of Canberra’s primary schools already promote healthy food and drink choices, teach students about nutrition, add healthier options to their canteen menus, and give students hands-on food growing and cooking experiences. Fresh Tastes helps schools build on these activities.
For each year of involvement, the Fresh Tastes Action Group at the school writes and implements a simple 12-month action plan focusing on their chosen Fresh Tastes action area. The five action areas for schools to choose from are: Classroom Learning; Food for Sale; Growing Food; Cooking Food, and Food from Home.
Classroom Learning is about providing teachers with curriculum-linked resources about healthy eating and ensuring they’re confident to teach these in the classroom. Food For Sale helps schools to follow the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy and the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines to ensure any food sold in the canteen during fundraising or at schools events is ‘Green’ or ‘Amber’ under the Traffic Light System. Growing and Cooking food gives teachers an opportunity to learn how to include gardening and cooking activities in their lessons so students can grow, harvest and prepare healthy recipes using fresh produce. Food From Home is about supporting and inspiring families to pack healthier lunchboxes.
School action plans have activities that will reach everyone in the school community including students, parents, teachers, P&C, and local community and business partners. To implement action plans, schools access financial grants, curriculum resources, professional learning, communication materials and individualised assistance from the ACT Health Fresh Tastes team. There are also networking opportunities with other schools to share ideas for innovation.
Fresh Tastes also helps schools celebrate success by creating written articles and videos that can be viewed on the Fresh Tastes website. There are some fantastic stories about schools working together with their P&C and parent community. You can also read a great example from Fraser Primary.
Ask how your school is involved
Find out if your school is involved by checking the ‘Participating Schools’ page on the Fresh Tastes website. If your school is listed, ask your Principal for an update on your school’s Fresh Tastes action plan at the next P&C meeting. You can also ask to be on your school’s Fresh Tastes Action Group to help with driving forward activities.
The website is www.health.act.gov.au/freshtastes
This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 1, 2018.