FOR the past three years, VCAL students at Kalianna School Bendigo have made it their mission to give back to the community.
With help from teachers, the students have grown buckets full of vegetables to give to Bendigo Foodshare as a way of helping them assist those who need it.
"After finding out that one in 10 households in Bendigo experienced food insecurity three years ago, I made contact with Healthy Greater Bendigo about where we could donate fresh produce. They put me onto Bendigo Foodshare and the partnership has continued to grow from there," Kalianna School teacher Rob Brown said.
"In 2020 we built upon the existing garden beds at our Kalianna campus and now have 25 beds, a greenhouse and small orchard where we grow fresh fruit and vegetables.
"We use rescued food from Foodshare to cook meals that we donate back to be distributed out and have also been volunteering at BFS to assist with assorted duties at their warehouse."
Foodshare community services co-ordinater Amy Sattler said the organisation found educating young people enjoyable.
"Young people are key to tackling food insecurity and education and community engagement go hand in hand in this partnership," she said.
"The students from Kalianna learn so much about the environment, food security, healthy cooking and eating, seasonal planting and giving back to the community.
"At the same time, Bendigo Foodshare receive beautiful, fresh, locally grown produce, meals cooked to go to the community and a willing workforce of students who bring a great energy and enthusiasm to the warehouse."
Mr Brown said his students valued the education from projects such as these.
"Kalianna VCAL and Bendigo Foodshare have both found our partnership extremely beneficial," he said,.
"Kalianna students gain valuable life tools and work related skills, while also giving back to their local community. My students have especially enjoyed volunteering and cooking meals for Foodshare."
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