Remote school gardens: exploring a cost-effective and novel way to engage Australian Indigenous students in nutrition and health

Andrew Hume, Alexander Wetten, Camilla Feeney, Sally Taylor, Kerin O'Dea, Julie Brimblecombe

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    Objective: This pilot study aimed to determine the feasibility of a novel, low-cost program to get remote schools started in gardening and nutrition activities, for a lower cost than existing models, and without on-the-ground horticultural support. 

    Methods: A multi-site, mixed methods case study was undertaken, in which four remote schools were shipped gardening materials and a nutrition and cooking resource, and provided with horticultural support by phone and email. A support register and teacher surveys were used for four months of evaluation. 

    Results: The study demonstrated that the program is feasible, and may be associated with an increase from baseline in student's time spent cooking, gardening and on related classroom activities. 

    Conclusions: The program was delivered economically without the need for on-the-ground staff, in a manner that was acceptable to teachers. 

    Implications: This model may have application in remote schools throughout Australia, where there is a need to alter health impacting behaviours in high-risk populations. Lengthier program evaluation times and further resource development may be worth investigating in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)235-240
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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