Out of the garden and into the kitchen – Keppel State School students feed their community

Preparing a meal from homegrown produce is no small feat, but not for 25 Keppel Sands State School students who whipped up 121 three-course meals at their annual community luncheon last week. This is a huge achievement, especially considering only one year ago the school’s garden was destroyed by a mob of hungry kangaroos. However, thanks to the teachers’ passion, support from the local community and a bursary from Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) there was plenty of food for the big day.

Keppel Sands State School’s (KSSS) annual STEM Luncheon is a highlight in the school calendar and for the local community. The school’s gardens and community day are an aspect of the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) project designed to take learnt skills out of the classroom and into the real world.

Students between the age of four and 11 (under the guidance of their teachers) were responsible for all elements of the luncheon – making on average 14 and-a-half meals each! This mammoth task also included – growing and harvesting the ingredients, creating the recipes, cooking, decorating tables, seating, serving, cleaning and rebuilding a brand-new garden.

The produce was so good, a mob of hungry kangaroos demolished the school’s garden leaving disaster in their wake just before the harvest for the 2018 STEM Luncheon. While the lunch went on without the homegrown goodies, KSSS quickly made plans to prevent this disaster from occurring again.

Thanks to a Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative a huge and enclosed greenhouse was erected to keep the veggies safe and the roos out. Additionally, an FBA Community Bursary further enabled KSSS to build raised garden beds and replant. The garden is a place of enjoyment and wonder, with children observing plant life cycles unfold and Keppel Sands community members sharing their gardening expertise.

The garden origins stem from the school’s brilliant and passionate Principal (Julie Hanak), who sat down and asked her students how they could make the school look better. Collectively the group decided on the idea of a flower garden. Starting small the children soon realised that had more to gain and give. The students then measured, gained quotes, built and planted food gardens. Since establishment, the food has been used at the annual luncheon and donated to Keppel Sands Ko-Op café.

KSSS Year 3 student (who wishes to stay anonymous) summarized the whole event beautifully, at the luncheon last week stating – “I love how we planted the garden and brought the community together to share it.”