THE Rockhampton Grammar School is taking the food hero concept to the next level – by moving the classroom outdoors for all ages from Prep to Year 12.
RGS Agriculture works across three campuses – Belmont Research Station, a six hectare, demonstration campus at Port Curtis which is home to a variety of production enterprises, as well as the main school campus which includes a kitchen garden.
At the main campus, students are developing an awareness of produce, seasonal production and the value adding of produce through the production of food both in the primary years, but also the secondary years as a part of catering studies and the school’s hospitality training operation “Top Shots Café”.
Students take produce from the school farm and value add producing high quality product for the consumer as a part of the hospitality programme.
Teacher in charge of the hospitality club, Mrs Julie Dunlop said it was a great experience for the hospitality students to get hands on in the selection of high quality produce, taking mangoes from the school farm and using them to make smoothies that sold like hot cakes and saw an increase in customers through our café.
The school also runs a small demonstration plot of coffee, giving the students an opportunity to harvest, process and roast their own beans.
In addition to mango, coffee, orange, lime and lemon production at Port Curtis, the school produces its own beef, that is sold commercially as a part of the Central Queensland Carcase Competition.
RGS gained first and second place in this years class nine hook competition, as well as first on the hoof.
RGS sources its weaners from Banana Station, and through this engagement with industry gains the best opportunity for its students to learn beef production both in the academic stream as well as the co-curricular show team.
The school also produces its own Dorper lamb which is commercially processed at Monto, then sold to the RGS school community and used in the kitchens.
Eggs are also on the horizon, with the school having recently applied for producer status, following a cost benefit analysis by the senior agricultural science students.
The school also heroes sustainability with the use of a aquaponics system across subject areas including marine.
A feature of the Certificate in Agriculture at RGS is exposure to industry best practice, by bringing the industry to the student.
Head of Agriculture and Home Economics Hardy Manser said it was great to give students the opportunity to engage with food and fibre production with the support of industry.
“RGS is equipping CQ students to be the leaders in food and fibre production into the future,’’ Mr Manser said.
“These are our food heroes.”