Innovative program to forge positive food habits for life expands into Aussie secondary schools

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and AstraZeneca Australia unite on pilot project to deliver pleasurable food education to Australian students aged 12–18

  • Educating Aussie students on how to grow and cook fresh, seasonal food could help nurture a healthy future: More than half (67.3%) of parents believe their children could do better when it comes to healthy food and lifestyle knowledge.1
  • Schools influential in helping kids form healthy eating habits: Close to half of parents (42.5%) believe poor food choices are caused by lack of education at secondary school, with nine in 10 parents in support of schools doing more to promote healthy lifestyles.1
  • One in four Aussie children are obese or overweight:2 57.6% of parents admit they are concerned children may struggle to maintain a healthy weight in life and be at risk of serious disease (51.2%) as a result of poor food choices.1
  • Reaching children is vital before they transition into adulthood: As obese children move into adolescence, their likelihood of becoming an obese adult is 25–50% and can be as high as 78% for older obese adolescents.3

: In a first-of-its-kind, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation – in partnership with AstraZeneca Australia – is developing a curriculum-integrated kitchen garden program model for secondary schools.

Three secondary schools in Victoria – Narre Warren South P-12 College, Numurkah Secondary College and Western Heights College – will be announced today as the first pilot schools for the Secondary Years Kitchen Garden Project.

The three-year pilot project, which will see up to 13 secondary schools and up to 1300 secondary students aged 12-18 take part, is in direct response to demand from educators, families and students who observed the need for pleasurable food education to be supported beyond primary school aged children.

A recent survey has highlighted the concerns of Australian families who believe their children lack adequate food knowledge or cooking skills to make good food choices.

The survey, commissioned by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and AstraZeneca Australia and conducted by research house PureProfile, revealed more than 90% of Australian parents viewed education on healthy living, including food choices, in secondary schools as either important (44.3%) or highly important (48.3%) and wished secondary schools did more to actively teach and promote positive food behaviours at school (56.7%).1

Stephanie Alexander AO, Founder of the Kitchen Garden Foundation, said the collaboration with AstraZeneca Australia on the Secondary Years Kitchen Garden Project aims to deliver on this wish by using pleasurable food education to help students develop positive food habits for life.

Stephanie said the new secondary project will draw on the experiences of the successful Kitchen Garden Program, which has been running in primary schools for 17 years.

“Now secondary school students will have the chance to experience the joys of growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing fresh, seasonal delicious food, just like students in the primary schools running the Kitchen Garden Program.”

Close to two-thirds (59.5%) of Australian parents value a school that actively promotes healthy living, including education on healthy food choices. In fact, it is a top three priority for parents when they are choosing where to send their children – equal with school ranking (59.9%) and behind location (80.7%).1

With one in four children in Australia either obese or overweight,2 there is reason to do more. Of those surveyed, more than half of parents worried that a lack of knowledge could result in their child struggling with their weight (57.6%) and being at risk of a range of diseases including diabetes and heart disease (51.2%).1

AstraZeneca Australia’s partnership with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation on the Secondary Years Kitchen Garden Project is part of the company’s commitment to its Young Health Programme (YHP). The YHP is a non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention programme that aims to reduce the uptake of unhealthy behaviours in young people to improve their health outcomes as adults and help address the growing burden of NCDs on health systems. “AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme aims to work with expert organisations around the world to combine research, advocacy and on-the-ground-programmes to improve the health of young people,” said AstraZeneca Australia and New Zealand Country President, Liz Chatwin. “We are proud to kick-off this partnership with Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, as we recognise the importance of helping young people to develop healthy food and lifestyle habits to reduce their risk of obesity and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease in the future. To achieve a world in which preventable diseases are reduced or eliminated altogether is a core focus of our sustainability efforts.”

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation CEO Josephene Duffy said the Secondary Years Kitchen Garden Project would develop the first curriculum-integrated kitchen garden program model for Australian secondary schools.

“The results of this project will be a kitchen garden program model that any Australian secondary school can integrate with their curriculum, and use to achieve an array of health, wellbeing, learning and community engagement objectives,” said Josephene.

“The potential impact of the new project is enormous.”

For more information on the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and how to get involved, visit



Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation: Stacy Allen / PR Coordinator / / M: 0487 888 566

AstraZeneca Australia: Val Staikou / Head of Corporate Communications / / M: 0456 965 221


About the Consumer Survey:

In September 2018, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and AstraZeneca Australia commissioned a nationally-representative survey that explored the food habits of secondary school students in Australia and the value parents place on teaching children how to form positive food habits for life. In total, 1,006 parents from all states and territories across Australia completed the online survey.

About the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the delivery of pleasurable food education in Australian schools. The Foundation is currently working with more than 1700 Australian early years centres, primary and secondary schools teaching students to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, delicious food through a kitchen garden program.

For more information visit

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

For more information, please visit and


1. PureProfile Consumer Survey commissioned by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and AstraZeneca Australia. September 2018.

2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017. An interactive insight into overweight and obesity in Australia. [Online] Available at: [Accessed October 2018].

3. Healthy Kids NSW, 2018. Overweight and Obestity. [Online] Available at: [Accessed October 2018].