The NZ Technology Curriculum strongly encourages community involvement in technology education programs. The partnership of Hands-On Food with schools achieves connecting a participant, and their education, with their wider community. It also supports schools achieve Food Technology outcomes. This community involvement can help participants find purpose in their learning, which will ideally transfer to other aspects of their education.
Our goal is to support schools through ‘real life’ learning opportunities for students. The students work together with the Wholegrain Organics kitchen team in producing high quality products. Students will also be involved in dealing directly with Wholegrain Organics’ customers via their cafe/store, online store and social media.
Furthermore the Hands-On Food program promotes health. Health food options are currently trending internationally as awareness of the impact diet plays on our health upsurges. While health fads and trends have come and gone (think oat bran ‘80s or low-fat ‘90s) this time healthy living appears to have serious stamina. The present emphasis on the harmful effects of sugar illustrates this increased awareness. Our products are very low in nett sugar, and what sugar they do contain comes only from dates, honey or other unrefined sweeteners. All our products promote the use of wholegrains, and many are naturally gluten-free. This not only provides for those with allergies, but also offers dietary variation for everyone.
Who we are
We are Wholegrain Organics, a not-for-profit health food business running under the auspices of the Sabbath Rest Advent Church. We bake wholegrain organic mueslis, bread, crackers and biscuits; we produce other products such as spreads, vegan raw cheesecakes, carob chocolate and vegan ice-cream; and we produce meals such as hearty organic soups, beans on rice and chickpea patties. We also package and resell wholesome dry goods and wholegrain flours which we mill. We market and sell from our cafe/store at 134 The Square, Palmerston North, and via our online shop www.wholegrainorganics.nz.
Our Hands On Food concept is based on the three pillars of our philosophy health, education and research. Our daily business of researching, producing and marketing high quality food exemplifies the NZ Food Technology school curriculum in action. We wish to involve young people who are interested in preparing and producing quality food and the process of marketing and selling that same food in our business.
There are various vehicles through which this involvement could take place, examples are detailed below.
- “Cooking 4 Credits” workshops.
2-3 day program run either in schools or at our premises where students can gain credits towards a food technology achievement standard, or a hospitality unit standard – credits administration is done in cooperation with the student’s school.
- Educational Programs in Schools
‘Hands on Food’ works with schools and students in a classroom situation. The program is flexible, it may be part of a food technology program on a weekly basis, or workshops or activity days as needed. These can be at school, or in our large cafe kitchen. To date we have run food technology/nutrition/cooking programs with Feilding Intermediate (every Friday), North Street Primary (year 7 & 8s), MANUKURA (year 9s and senior high-performance sports students), Freyberg (year 10 activity days and TPU cooking/nutrition) and PNBHS (year 13s afternoon cooking sessions for rec studies).
- Hands-On Food team
The Hands-On Food team is a group of local teenagers from a variety of local schools (or homeschoolers) who love to cook. We meet at Wholegrain Organics’ cafe 4PM every Thursday (term time only) and prepare a meal which the students serve to cafe guests for dinner, starting from 6PM.
- GATEWAY program.
Senior students interested in vocational training in a production kitchen and online health food shop can come and work together with us 1-2 days per week as liaised between their school careers adviser and Wholegrain Organics.