Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services (MVNS) 
resourcing and empowering the Manning Valley community

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Manning Valley Community Gardens – Garden2Kitchen


To excite and encourage young children to develop an interest in and respect for nature and how it provides sustenance as well as enjoyment

Outcomes sought:

  • Practical skills in gardening and water saving within the garden through play
  • A greater understanding of the cycle of food production
  • Through participation, encouragement to increase the variety of foods within the diets of preschool children (particularly vegetables)
  • To observe and participate in preparing food
  • To gain social skills through working together in small groups, meeting new people and experiencing a new environment


The idea for the Garden2Kitchen Project came about through the development of the community garden as a wonderful community resource and identifying the need for young children to have supervised access to such a resource. Many children don’t have the opportunity or exposure to the environment in this way.

It seeks to create a set of resources and activities for children that combine learning, understanding and actions that can be used throughout life. The Garden and the Kitchen provide a real-life context for learning in which the pleasure gained from growing, harvesting, and preparing and sharing will be a life-long pleasure, and will affect how our children live as individuals, and as members of local communities.

This project also allows the children to prepare food and have fun with it. At a time when education about nutrition has been identified as a major issue for children, this has been enthusiastically received and facilitated by some wonderful professionals.  We only mentioned it once and they were all on board!  We had professionals from Hunter New England Area Health Service, one of our local preschools and one of our enthusiastic garden volunteers to take the children through the various aspects of the program.

Coincidental to the hands on learning is the personal, social development and social-emotional learning skills such as cooperation, communication and negotiation. Children build self-esteem, confidence and a sense of achievement through kitchen and garden activities. Reading and understanding technical instructions, expanding vocabulary and exploring language are all cleverly woven into this program. Listening, speaking, writing, working in teams, working cooperatively and problem solving are all aspects of the Garden2Kitchen Program.

Funds were originally received through Funding for Rural and Regional Renewal and also from Communities for Children which enabled us to do this.  We hope to obtain more funds so that we can extend this wonderful program.

Cookbook Download: Fruit and Vege Cookbook (PDF, 1MB)