In today’s fast paced, grab and go society, we have forgotten the basics.

GIA DE PICCIOTTO Q&A

What was the original inspiration behind Edible Garden?

Growing up my mother and grandmother did everything possible to make my meals more nutririous. When I had my first son I realised that eo me, food meant wellness and that by providing helathy, seasonal meals ot my family I would keep our immune systems strong and we would all be healthy. When he began school, I learned that not everyone knew the basics and that I could help by providing an edible education. I have taken great inspiration from Alice Waters, the pioneer of the edible education movement.

Why was something like this needed?

In today’s fast paced, grab and go society, we have forgotten the basics. Our children don’t know where their food comes from and that food from the earth can taste good and make you feel good.

Why does it make a difference if children know where food comes from?

If a child plants, grows and harvests their carrot, that child will choose to eat that carrot. Growing and cooking foods from the earth will prolong our kids lives.

I didn’t eat particularly healthily as a child and to me McDonald’s was the ultimate when it came to food. Why would knowledge make a difference?

I love to talk to children about ‘real food’ by teaching them how to look at ingredients. If there is an item listed on a package that they cannot pronounce or recognise, it’s not a real food. And most likely it’s a preservative. Do we want to put chemicals into our bodies?

How do you look to work with schools?

Now is the time to teach our children how to make lifelong healthy choices. By learning and participating in where their food comes from amazing things start to happen. The entire community engages in the process, curriculum is built around it in variety of subjects and the kitchen incorporate the harvest into the school meals. I require the schools who join the program to make a commitment to the program being sustainable by doing those things.

Can you give an overview of how an edible garden will fit into school life?

It transcends through all of school life, by enhancing what is currently going on as I mentioned above.

Have you had many success stories to date?

Yes. Colville Primary School and the Knightsbridge School are great examples. They are growing and cooking and the children are involved – getting their hands dirty- throughout the year.

It’s not rocket science, but better nutrition must surely equal better performance in the classroom?

Absolutely. There is no question that students are better focused and better behaved through being well nourished.

It’s just been over a year since you launched, but how far do you think you have already come – and is there a lot to do in the future?

I am so excited by what I am seeing in the 10 plus schools that are up and running. There is a lot more to do though. I’m on a mission to help any school recognise the importance of this and assist them in providing their students an edible education.