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

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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.


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.


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.


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


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.

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