Empowering women through education and health

Rose Aston and other Country Kitchens volunteers at Wallaville State School. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Valued community volunteer, Rose Aston, plays an integral role in the QCWA Country Kitchens program facilitating healthy cooking workshops at Wallaville State School, between Mt Perry and Bundaberg.

After a brief break due to COVID-19, the much-loved cooking workshops officially restarted in Term 4 of 2022 and will continue throughout 2023, making this the sixth year of Country Kitchens in action at the school.

The QCWA’s Country Kitchens program is a health promotion program supporting communities across Queensland to adopt healthier lifestyle behaviours.

It is a partnership between the QCWA and Health and Wellbeing Queensland and the flagship program of the Association.

The Country Kitchens program supports volunteers, like Rose, who already have a wealth of cooking knowledge and skills, with training and support to help improve the health and well-being of Queenslanders, particularly those living in rural, regional and remote locations.

“This year, the students will participate in nine cooking sessions throughout the year. Incorporating nutrition education and healthy cooking into a fun and educational workshop is the focus of these sessions,” Rose said.

The students learn how to incorporate the Country Kitchens’ five key messages – get more fruit and veg into your meals, cook at home, check your portion sizes, be aware of sugar in your drinks and sit less, move more into their daily lives.

They also learn some basic skills to help them prepare delicious and healthy meals.

“At the end of each year, the students share what they have learnt throughout the program and serve a meal they have prepared for a group of invited guests. These sessions are a highlight for the students, and they are overjoyed to have them back up and running.”

Events like these are how the Country Kitchens program is improving food and nutrition literacy, and importantly, influencing behaviour change at a local community level.

If you would like to see something similar in your community, Country Kitchens would love to invite you to become a facilitator.

For more information, contact the Country Kitchens team at countrykitchens@qcwa.org.au, call 0417 539 663 or visit the website www.qcwacountrykitchens.org.au.

Rose and her wonderful cooking ‘Station Supervisors’ Louise Thorne, Monica Bawden, Liz Loeskow, Gillian Lawrence and Lisa Paolini make programs like this possible and positively contribute to the health of children in the community.