The Queensland Country Women's Association's (QCWA) Country Kitchens program continues to lift the healthy eating habits of people from across the state.
Backed by Qld's largest and most prevalent women's group, and funded by the Queensland State Government, the Country Kitchens program aims to improve the amount of vegetables consumed in every day meals.
Since the program began in 2015 more than 2375 people have participated in the hands-on nutrition workshops all over Qld. In total, around 37,000 people have been reached through activities conducted by their local branch members.
This month, the State Government confirmed a continuation of funding for the next financial year, affirming the programs' success.
QCWA state president Christine King was pleased about the announcement regarding the renewed funding for the program.
"We're delighted that the State Government has recognised the real improvements the program is bringing to people living in rural, regional and remote Queensland," she said.
State program manager, Fiona McKenzie said over the life of the program she has seen it develop into an ambitious program which is advocated, encouraged and participated in across Qld.
"Since the program first launched, a team of accredited practicing dietitians have been travelling all over Queensland to deliver the program's key messages in the nutrition workshops, healthy eating forums, and community showcase events," she said.
"Now the program is becoming far more embedded and is continued through the efforts of 218 volunteer facilitators drawn from the QCWA ranks, across the state, who're leading activities in their local communities. In the past nine months, 9887 people have participated in facilitator led activities from 60 communities."
Passionate branch facilitator, Helen Heinecke said she didn't think you could teach an old dog new tricks, in relation to the facilitator training, "but I did learn new skills and I enjoyed it so much!".
One significant benefit of this grass roots approach, is how well the QCWA can localise the health promotion initatives of the program within their communities.
St George branch facilitator Paula Hetherington said "participants feel more connected and at ease talking about healthy recipes and the five key messages with their peers".
Mrs King said facilitators are confidently forming new partnerships with community agencies to build capacity for health promotion.
"They have a real talent for knowing just what will work in their local area," she said.
- If you'd like to know more about the QCWA Country Kitchens program please visit the website contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 3026 1220. If you're interested in becoming a Country Kitchens facilitator, please contact Fiona McKenzie at email@example.com