Edendale farm cultivating healthy futures

Words by Jane Gillard


Edendale Community Education Farm in Eltham will receive a VicHealth grant of about $38,000 to run a food gardening program targeted at young people who are disadvantaged or disengaged from school.

VicHealth is partnering with community groups and organisations across Victoria to provide local children and teens with a Jumpstart!1 towards a healthier future.

The program will see a total of 30 young people (aged 12 – 17) from Eltham High School, Diamond Valley College and St Helena Secondary College learn how to grow and prepare healthy food.  

The program will be delivered over a term for a group of 10 students from each school. It will focus on growing healthy food and be practical and skills based, including the building of wicking beds. It will also cover topics across the seed-to-feed cycle, including the environmental and the personal health benefits of local food.

VicHealth CEO Sandro Demaio said: “The program will give young people the best start in life which we hope will carry on for the rest of their lives.”

He said it was one of a number of programs VicHealth has funded in the Nillumbik and Banyule municipalities.

Eltham MP Vicki Ward said: “These programs are the perfect opportunity for young people to learn new skills, make friends and kickstart a healthier lifestyle.”

Nillumbik Shire Council, which operates Edendale, will partner with Open House2 to deliver the program for Nillumbik youth, thanks to the VicHealth funding. 

Nillumbik Mayor Ben Ramcharan said: “We hope that it will be an inspiring program for young people to be part of and help them positively engage with local food, learning about the process of growing food.

It will also show them there are many pathways from school into future employment and career opportunities.”

Edendale Ward Councillor Natalie Duffy said: “We are lucky to have a community farm in our Shire, it’s a fantastic educational facility for everyone ranging from young children to adults.”

  1. There is more about Jumpstart! on the VicHealth website.
  2. Open House Christian Involvement Centre won a Nillumbik Shire Council grant to run a youth mentoring program in the municipality by providing opportunities to connect and develop life skills.