Centre Spotlight: Keilor Village Plant to Plate

Peek into how the team at Keilor Village use a sustainable garden for healthy eating and learning.

When Annette Borg, head chef at Keilor Village Early Learning in Victoria prepares the centre’s weekly menu, she first checks what’s growing in the vegetable garden.

Since seeds were first planted in January 2018, the veggie patch has grown to be an instrumental part of the life of the community at Keilor Village, providing more than just fresh produce for the children and their families. Annette aims to provide exciting and nutritious meals for the children.

Children enjoy the hands-on experience of learning how to grow fresh produce.

“The menus outline four-week meal plans and rotate monthly. We choose foods that are all in season to provide freshness. Our menus are carefully planned to cater for individual dietary requirements and cultural diversity,” Annette said.

Importantly, the menu is based on the Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s menu planning guidelines, which helps our staff plan a menu that provides the right balance of foods children need each day for optimal growth and development.

The children enjoying a diverse range of hot and cold freshly cooked meals daily, using produce from the garden when available. One of the children’s favourite choices is the sandwich bar, with the option to choose the fillings they enjoy most. Currently, the children are growing broccoli, tomatoes, spring onions, parsley, passion fruit, zucchini and a variety of herbs.

The garden is also a great tool for education, Cushla Kinkaid, Keilor Village Early Learning Centre Manager explains.

“We use our sustainable garden to teach children about growing organic foods and the process of growing produce. The children have a hands-on experience of planting, watering, picking and weeding. We also use it as an educational tool during awareness weeks, like National Nutrition Week and Food Allergy Week,” Cushla said.

“It’s also an effective tool for interaction between the children and their parents and our staff. All parents are welcome to take food home as they can pick anything from the garden with the children on their way home. And a tub with extra fresh produce is located in the foyer for families to take.”

A sample menu can be found below (read at own risk, it could make you hungry!)

Keilor Village Samply Menu