• To trial a reduced-cost, remotely supported school gardening program.
  • To improve uptake and reduce the cost of remote school gardening, nutrition and cooking. 

In 2011 Dr Andy Hume found, visited and documented over 20 remote Aboriginal food gardens as part of a project sponsored through a General Practice Education and Training Academic Post.

The perceived benefits, barriers and enablers to the sustainable operation of remote Indigenous food gardens was documented through participant interviews, and the attributes of the gardens were documented. This work informed the Top End Remote Food Gardens Study and Website project.

In 2012, Dr Andy Hume commenced the remote school gardens and nutrition pilot program. The project is backed by the expertise of a team of public health nutritionists, remote horticulturalists and education personnel.

Implications for policy and practice:

Given the successful implementation of the reduced-cost school gardening and nutrition program presented here in four remote schools, it is hoped that other remote Australian schools will take up the model, making gardening and nutrition activities available to more students in these places. 

Our research has found:

Our research has found that a reduced-cost remote school gardening and nutrition program is feasible, and can be run entirely remotely, without the need for on-the-ground staff or travel to remote communities, and for minimal costs compared to current models. 

Further, it has demonstrated that such a program can promptly deliver a gardening package that a remote teacher with minimal horticultural experience can assemble alone and use with students; provide a gardening and nutrition resource that reduces teachers’ time spent finding other lesson materials; increase students time spend gardening and cooking; and increase class time spent on gardening and nutrition - related class activities.

Chief investigator:
  • Dr Andrew Hume
Project manager:
  • Dr Andrew Hume
Contact information:
Project dates:

This project commenced in January 2011 and was completed in December 2012.

  • General Practice Education and Training Academic Post 
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Northern Territory Department of Health
  • Northern Territory Department of Education 
  • Department of Resources, Horticulture division.
  1. Hume, A., O'Dea, K., & Brimblecombe, J.K. (2013). A survey of remote Aboriginal horticulture and community gardens in the Northern Territory. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 37(4), 394-5.
  2. Hume, A., Wetten, A., Feeney, C., Taylor, S., O'Dea, K., & Brimblecombe, J. (2014). Remote school gardens: exploring a cost-effective and novel way to engage Australian Indigenous students in nutrition and health. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 38(3), 235-40.
  3. Hume, A., O'Dea, K., & Brimblecombe, J. (2013). "We need our own food, to grow our own veggies..." Remote Aboriginal food gardens in the Top End of Australia's Northern Territory. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 37(5), 434-41.