St Mary’s College has been awarded platinum status for its Junior School Café – the highest accreditation ranking with the SmartFood Award Program, an initiative of School Food Matters.
St Mary’s is the only independent school in Tasmania to qualify for the platinum rating through its school canteen, Murphy’s Café.
In addition to its menu, which features at least 80 per cent ‘green’ items and meals based on the five food groups, the Junior School Café operation also scored top marks for its healthy eating policy, food service and sustainability practices.
Murphy’s Café Manager and College Sustainability Officer, Phil Shanny said the award recognises the College’s whole-school approach to health and wellbeing, as well as its ongoing commitment to the environment and “leaving nothing to waste”.
“The Café plays a central role in the College’s sustainability movement and our menu really highlights this,” Mr Shanny said.
“We make most of our dishes from scratch in the Café using fresh, local and seasonal produce from our school kitchen garden, which students across the College are involved in growing, harvesting and preparing here on site.”
To minimise the amount of matter going to landfill, the Café uses reusable and biodegradable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery for students and staff.
Non-recyclable packaging and single-use plastic waste is further reduced through the Cafe’s Udder Way milk dispensing system, which is currently eliminating the use of 20 plastic milk bottles a day by selling milk in disposable bottles.
“On a school-wide level, students engage in a number of activities that reinforce these environmentally sound principles such as ‘war on waste’ activities, sustainability events, nude food lunchboxes, composting and recycling activities and, of course, the school garden activities,” Mr Shanny said.
“The students enjoy participating in the school garden program. It teaches them important life skills and the value of healthy, nutritious food. Seeing this produce then incorporated into the school menu is an added bonus.”
In 2022, St Mary’s College was announced as a successful recipient of the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Schools Award for its Junior School ‘bush tucker’ garden.
The garden is growing edible Australian native plants in recycled and repurposed garden beds and food cubes that maximise plant growth while minimising water usage.
School Food Matters (formerly the Tasmanian Canteen Association) is funded by the Tasmanian Government through the Department of Health and the Department of Education.