Feeding and eating: school kids’ real life lesson

School's paddock to plate lessons


Sheep
The Rockhampton Grammar School's agriculture and home economics head of department Hardy Manser with Year 11 agriculture student Kineta Lang, from Kokopelli, Emerald, with some of the sheep on the property.

The Rockhampton Grammar School's agriculture and home economics head of department Hardy Manser with Year 11 agriculture student Kineta Lang, from Kokopelli, Emerald, with some of the sheep on the property.

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School students are growing lambs for their home economics class.

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LAMB is now on the menu at The Rockhampton Grammar School.

Home economics and agricultural studies may sound like an odd combination, but the school has embraced the paddock to plate ideology in a whole new manner this year.

Hardy Manser has been busy as the head of department for agriculture at RGS, but now Mr Manser has expanded his department to include home economics. 

“With the new national curriculum that came in a couple of years ago, the food production theme and the agricultural themes kind of fit together now,” Mr Manser said. 

“RGS has been fairly innovative by making it one department now.” 

With a theme of service in the home economics department, students have the chance to run a commercial cafe at the school two days per week, with the farm’s produce now on the menu.

Mangos were harvested at Christmas time, and were processed and frozen by students who then made them into smoothies at the cafe. 

But the most exciting step for the agricultural students is seeing their beef and lamb on the table. 

“We are one of few Central Queensland producers to actually produce lambs,” Mr Manser said.

Processed at Monto meats, the lamb is sold as boxed units through butcher shops – and has been a sell-out every time. 

The students have the chance to work closely with the sheep (and two alpacas).

The students have the chance to work closely with the sheep (and two alpacas).

Mr Manser said despite the stigma associated with dorpers – he has been impressed with the quality of the meat. 

The RGS farm sits on six hectares at Port Curtis, and is now fully focused on production. Students in years 10, 11 and 12 are able to complete their Certificate III in Agriculture through the program.

“We have sheep, heritage breed chickens, mangoes, citrus, coffee, we have a partnership with Pioneer Seeds where the kids are doing sorghum trials, and we even have redclaw and freshwater fish,” Mr Manser said. 

Alongside a registered Brahman stud is a commercial herd of show steers. The steers are put through a feedlot before being processed and served in the school dining hall. 

Last year saw 800 of the school’s 1500 students come on-farm to see how their food is produced.

The story Feeding and eating: school kids’ real life lesson first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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