Following reports that over a third of Kiwi kids are overweight or obese*, Garden to Table and T&G are proud to be changing the way New Zealand children think about food with the launch of the inaugural T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener of the Year Awards.
Applications for the T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener of the Year Awards open from Tuesday 22 August through to Friday 29 September to the 60 participating Garden to Table schools across New Zealand.
The awards aim to seek out five green-thumbed budding young gardeners who are enthusiastic, have passion and drive to grow fresh produce to create delicious dishes! Schools can also get involved – with a T&G Garden to Table School of the Year Award.
Garden to Table CEO, Linda Taylor, says: “The awards are designed to recognise the talent and achievements of individuals and schools who are gardening, growing and harvesting nutritious food.
“Together with T&G, we are on a mission to change the way children approach and think about food. At Garden to Table we strongly believe that children who understand where good food comes from – and how to prepare it – are likely to make better food choices,” she adds.
“As well as looking for the most passionate young gardeners in New Zealand, we’re also looking for the most enthusiastic school that is championing this approach, involving their kids in all aspects of gardening in an environmentally sustainable garden. We encourage everyone in our programme to get involved, as we have some fabulous prizes available.”
The T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener Awards boasts a stellar line up of judges, including Linda Taylor of Garden to Table, chef and restauranteur Al Brown, gardening journalist and broadcaster Lynda Hallinan and T&G’s executive general manager NZ produce Andrew Keaney.
Al Brown, says: “I wasn’t an academic student at school and I am a firm believer that results can be achieved by taking children out of the traditional learning environment. I’m proud to be an ambassador for the Garden to Table programme, helping kids develop a greater understanding of food, nutrition and sustainability and make better decisions when it comes to eating a balanced diet.
“Through Garden to Table, we’re working with schools across the country, setting tasks in the garden and kitchen to help improve social skills including communication, teamwork and collaboration. The pride the kids have in what they’ve accomplished is extraordinary – from growing the produce, right through to cooking and enjoying meals together.”
“These Awards offer a great way to encourage youngsters to get outside and learn in a totally different environment.”
T&G executive general manager NZ produce Andrew Keaney says; “T&G is excited to support the hunt for our country’s budding young gardeners and shine a light on the next generation of growers on top of the 1000 growers we work with every day.
“This is a time where children are not only becoming more overweight, they are losing their fine motor skills – and that is not acceptable. Through the T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener Awards, we’re encouraging kids to put those screens down and get their hands dirty, while being outside and learning in a different environment!”
Entries for the T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener Awards open on Tuesday 22 August and close Friday 29 September at 5pm. To enter, schools must already participate in the Garden to Table programme – visit www.younggardenerawards.co.nz to find and more and to apply.
A full list of Garden to Table schools can be found here.