Australian Organic Schools Program
A program to help teachers educate students about the journey of organic food from farm to plate and the value of sustainable food production is now available to Aussie schools. Launched in December 2020 by the organic industry’s peak body, Australian Organic Limited (AOL), the Australian Curriculum-aligned Australian Organic Schools Program provides comprehensive learning resources to help pre-primary to Year 10 students understand the importance of organic principles and practices.
A grassroots understanding
AOL Education and Research Officer Amy Stewart, who has a background in agricultural science and teaching, has drawn upon more than seven years of experience as an educator to create the free “back to basics” Australian Organic Schools Program for classrooms.
“As the demand for organic produce in Australia continues to rapidly grow, we want to provide students and educators with resources to learn more about organic principles and practices,” she says. “This program offers a grassroots understanding of what happens to your food as it makes its way from the farm to your table.”
Stewart has been aware of agricultural production systems since childhood. She grew up on a small farm near Warwick in southern Queensland.
“We now have a far better understanding of what constitutes sustainable food production,” she says. “And I believe that’s organic. We need the next generation to be more aware of what organic represents and why we should look for certified organic produce.”
So much to learn
The Australian Organic Schools Program was originally created 14 years ago. It has since had a complete overhaul, boasting the most up-to-date organic industry information. The program has been written to be flexibly integrated into existing curriculums. It offers complete lesson plans, referenced and resourced activities and practical activities.
With a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) focus, the program’s three units aim to highlight the value of the Australian certified organic industry.
“The program covers a wide variety of current discussion topics,” Stewart says. “This includes why choosing organic can be better for you and the environment, why soil health is important and how organic practices contribute to sustainable living.”
“There’s so much information about organic food production to learn. It will help students become more engaged with where their food comes from and how it’s produced.”
All resources are free to download and are fully researched and referenced with the most current industry information. Educators can download the program for free from the Australian Organic Schools website.