Robyn Cook. The Kitchen Garden Teacher

Self-employed for over 20 years in the photographic and publishing industries, I began volunteering in my young son’s school permaculture gardens in 2003.  Our team of volunteers grew food, started a community organic gardening group, ran workshops, developed curriculum links and staged school and community events.

In 2008 I applied for a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) grant and Chevallum State School was honoured to be one of the first nine Queensland schools to secure this incredible Program.

From 2009 to 2011 Garden Teacher and Program Co-ordinator at Chevallum SS. 

  • Weekly garden classes to Years 4-7.
  • Worked with teachers to deliver garden classes linked to STEAM curriculum supporting classroom work.
  • Recruited and managed volunteers, developed community relationships.
  • Developed micro-businesses generating income to cover weekly consumables.
  • Grew enough food for around 130 meals once a week in the school kitchen.

In 2011 I joined the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation as Queensland Project Officer in a role established by Education Queensland which funded 25 Queensland Primary Schools to join the Kitchen Garden Foundation.

  • Regular face to face, phone and internet contact to support the 25 schools remodel classrooms into kitchens and open spaces into productive vegetable gardens.
  • Support Principals and BSMs to navigate council and Ed Qld requirements for building refurbishments and workplace safety .
  • Schools were located in remote, regional and urban areas with each presenting its own challenge.
  • Took over the support of all 117 Queensland schools running the Kitchen Garden Program at that time.

From 2013 to 2015 one of six in the Foundation's national training team. 

  • Trained over 600 Principals, teachers, aides and parents at face to face training across Australia.
  • Support schools to successfully engage their students in curriculum relevant, life-skill building and above all nourishing and nurturing garden and kitchen classes. 
  • Engaged in regular communication with 117 schools in Queensland to provide advice and suggestions on the continued success of their Kitchen Garden Programs.
  • Developed training resources, webinars and podcasts. 

With the end of Federal Government funding in June 2015 our dedicated Kitchen Garden Foundation training team was disbanded and I took the opportunity to take a refreshing 'gap year' to spend time with my family and to grow and prepare fresh food from my own garden.

I am excited to offer my experience and skills to Educational Facilities from Early Years to High Schools and to Aged Care facilities which currently offer a Kitchen Garden program or plan to develop their own Kitchen Garden program to support the educational, health and social needs of their students. 

It is said that a happy life is one where we are of service to others or involved in things greater than ourselves. I am clear that educating our children to recognise and then embrace healthy food and engage in real-world and work-ready experiences is a vital contribution to our future society.  

I hold a current Blue Card and Public Liability insurance.

Hands up if your happy childhood memories involve being outdoors playing with friends.