Decreasing centre's ecological footprint benefits families
An initiative developed to help busy families in the evenings has had a huge response at Goodstart Bundoora – Karl Court
The centre has been saving food from their lunchtime service and repackaging it as take-home dinners.
Centre director Libby Farley said pumpkin soup and pasta roma had so far been on the menu and the local families couldn’t be happier.
Research shows that food consumption and waste is a leading factor in an early learning centre’s ecological footprint.
“This is just one small way we can help decrease our footprint, while also helping out families. We’ve also started to buy locally grown produce in order to cut down on food miles,” Ms Farley said.
“We noticed that we sometimes had a lot of food left over from our lunchtime meals and because we have such a focus on sustainability it seemed such a waste to throw it all out,” Ms Farley said.
“Add to that the fact that some of our families don’t get home until 6.30pm at night and it seemed like a great idea to offer it packaged up.”
Ms Farley said all the meals had been taken home by families so far, and the response had been amazing.
“Many families live quite a long way away from the centre and have said that it can take them up to an hour to get home at night and by that stage the children were really hungry.
“With these meals they just have to heat them up and the parents know their children are getting a healthy meal.
“I have twin three-year-olds myself so I know what it’s like sometimes to have a late day and have to get home and start cooking.”
The centre has a firm focus on sustainability. Their seven rabbits, Ricky, Winter, Lola, Larry, Ginger, Cinnamon and Franklin, eat most of the vegetable scraps. Herbs and vegetables grown in the gardens are added to the lunch menu.
“Having rabbits at the centre allows the opportunity for the children to interact and learn valuable life skills they can use throughout their future lives,” Ms Farley said. “Having a pet also helps children develop a caring attitude and skills such as nurturing, responsibility, empathy and improved communication.”
The centre also recycles water, shreds used paper for the rabbits and ensures lights are switched off when they are not needed.
The centre was visited by Cool Australia on Tuesday to be filmed and interviewed about their sustainable practices. Cool Australia is an organisation which supports teachers with learning activities and resources based on a sustainability theme.