Ms McBRIDE (Dobell) (16:48): From little things big things grow, and that is exactly what I hope will happen in Toukley Public School this year, because Isabelle from Toukley Public School is the winner of my schools Kitchen Garden Classroom competition. Isabelle's fantastic entry has earned her school a 12-month membership of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Classroom and a set of the tropical and subtropical syllabus, kindly donated by the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden program. Second prize, an educators pack, is awarded to Jack from Chittaway Bay Public School. Third prize goes to Ana from Brooke Avenue Public School, who has won for her school a 'getting started' pack. And 'highly commended' goes to Amanda from Tacoma Public School.
I launched the schools Kitchen Garden Classroom competition to promote kitchen gardens as an educational tool for schoolchildren to build their gardening skills and to learn of the importance of fresh and healthy food. Students in my electorate were asked to write, in 250 words or less, how a school kitchen garden would help them learn. The quality of the entries was outstanding. Students showed a real flair for creative writing and gardening. After much deliberation, the judges have settled on these winners, and I am delighted to announce their success in the national parliament today. Congratulations to Isabelle, Jack, Ana and Amanda. I cannot wait to visit your schools and see what is planned for your gardens.
I am very pleased to support the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Classroom program, which encourages a love of gardening and enjoyment of fresh, healthy foods, which are so vital to nourishing and maintaining physical health and wellbeing. I wish to thank the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation for its generous support of this local initiative. I would also like to thank the principal, Mrs Dillon, students and staff from Tacoma Public school, whose Leafy Leaders program planted the seed that led to this competition. Hopefully, big things will grow in the years ahead. I have met with Central Coast Council and they are backing this program, which I want to see rolled out in schools and community centres across the Central Coast. When children discover a love of digging, watering, planting and growing their own fruit and vegetables, the benefits last a lifetime. I commend the program to all members, thank all those students who participated with so many letters and drawings for the competition and, again, congratulate the winners in the first Dobell Kitchen Garden Classroom Competition. Thank you so much. I look forward to visiting you and your schools very soon.