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The (Veggie) Struggle is Real
Parents across Australia have shared with us just how hard it is to get their kids to eat more vegetables. It's an ongoing battle, and it's making everyone unhappy.
You’re tired of the nagging, the arguments at dinner time, and the kids turning their noses up before they’ve tasted a mouthful. You’re sick of dealing with fussy eaters, and kids not listening when you tell them to eat their greens.
You simply want your kids to eat healthier, so they can learn better in school, be calmer, happier kids, and grow up to be as healthy as possible.
We found the solution in 2014, and since then we’ve tested and refined it in over 100 schools across Australia, with over 24,000 children, teachers and parents taking part.
THE MAD FOOD SCIENCE PROGRAM HAS ALREADY REACHED:
Empowering Children Through Fun
The Mad Food Science Program educates children to start making better food choices straight away, using experiments, observations, and discussions to reinforce key health messages.
This 90-minute school incursion is focussed on Primary School children aged from 5 - 13 years old. It creates a fun environment for children to learn and explore ideas about food and health. Each new health idea is discussed with a full group of up to 120 students, before breaking up into class workstations to conduct experiments.
Each child gets up-close and personal experiences of the experiments, everyone gets to taste a green smoothie, and everyone learns how to read a packet label. Students thoroughly enjoy the interactive nature of the workshop, and they retain the key messages because they stay highly engaged.
On completion students get a handout with Mad Food Scientist experiments to conduct at home. Teachers are given topics and activities for further classroom learning, and the school can access more materials to continue these conversations with families over 6-12 months.
The unique mix of experiments, discussions and actions, results in children choosing more fruit and vegetables at home and in their lunchbox immediately after participating.
What Children Learn:
Why their body needs a rainbow of fruit and vegetables
To taste food with their tongue, not with their eyes
How food can affect their mood, concentration and behaviour
To take responsibility for what they put in their mouth
How to read food packets, and why real food is so much better
Studies show that children who eat more fruit and vegetables perform better in NAPLAN testing, and concentrate better, behave better, and socialise better in class.
The Mad Food Science Program helps make this a reality – and also directly supports schools with the Australian Curriculum's PDHPE learning area, including:
- Making healthy and safe choices (Being Healthy, Safe & Active)
- Health literacy (Communicating & Interacting for Health & Wellbeing)
- Community health promotion (Contributing to Healthy & Active Communities)
The Program supports units about anatomy, waste and sustainability, maths, and scientific method.
Parents know that the program helps their child's education and their health, and Teachers benefit from a simple form to prove curriculum learnings as a result of student participation.
“I was amazed how easily the children picked up the concepts that I see even adults struggle with. The kids all had a brilliant time and I know a lot of children went home telling about their learning experiences!”
Mum and P+C Member
The Creators of the Program
Bel and Israel Smith founded The Root Cause in 2012 after Israel suffered post-natal depression and discovered how much food choices improved his condition. Shortly after, their daughter started getting teased about having healthy, non-packaged food in her school lunchbox.
After talking with the class teacher, Bel Smith developed and ran the very first Mad Food Science Program as a one-off workshop for their daughter’s class. But the responses from children and parents were so overwhelmingly positive, that Bel was asked back to teach the workshop for whole school.
More schools followed, they appeared on Channel 7’s Sunrise program, and then set off on an Australian Tour, working with over 90 schools and 20,000 participants across a 2 year period.
Bel and Israel continuously reviewed and refined the Program, after working with children of all socio-economic backgrounds and geographic locations – and it was successful in every instance.
The Root Cause now has 12 Certified Instructors who run the Mad Food Science Program in 5 Australian States (NSW, VIC, QLD, SA & WA).
A Team of Certified Instructors
We're proud and excited to announce that we have 12 Certified Instructors based across Australia.
Since we completed our Australian Tour, we’ve been training this group of passionate individuals to deliver The Mad Food Science Program around Australia and Internationally, so we can impact more children.
The map shows our Instructor's main region/location, but with enough notice, they are often able to travel more broadly than just their immediate regions. Even if you're located outside these areas, make an enquiry and we will do our best to help you.
Meet our amazing team of Certified Instructors below:
CRESCENT HEAD / MID NORTH COAST
New South Wales
CENTRAL COAST / NEWCASTLE
New South Wales
UPPER/LOWER NORTH SHORE SYDNEY
NEW SOUTH WALES
KORUMBURRA / SOUTH GIPPSLAND
BALLARAT / CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
TOWNSVILLE / FNQ
TOOWOOMBA / DARLING DOWNS
NARACOORTE / SOUTH EAST
VARLEY / WHEATBELT
GeRALDTON / SHIPWRECK COAST
"This program is so tidy and so tight, and covers so many areas. The kids are engaged from start to finish."
Assistant Deputy Principal
Kensington Public School
What People Are Saying:
"I will never regret getting my very obese self and kids to the Mad Food Science workshop almost 2 years ago!! Life is simply different now... It really is "simple" to shop, pre-prepare and eat real food!
We stick to one golden rule, no packaged foods with numbers or more than 6 ingredients!!
I personally have lost over 30kgs and my kids have grown into their weight! Gone is the drama of "what to buy", there is always a pantry, fridge & freezer full of easy and healthy food thanks to Bel's simple guidelines!! Thankyou!"
– Lori Buttel
"This year all 3 of my primary school age children (10, 7 & 5 years) had the Mad Food Science Program at their school (Mayfield west, Newcastle NSW)
None of them were bad eaters beforehand but the program definitely helped them agree to try more foods and they are all obsessed with the “rainbow” now!
We have the food rainbow poster both on the fridge and a wall in the kitchen. I would like to see this program delivered every year at every school!! Thank you!!"
– Dee Morison
"Firstly, thank you for attending my son’s school - Pleasant Heights Public.
I attended the parent information session and found it incredibly informative and valuable. You reminded me that the food I feed my children and the messages that we give them around food is so important. I have always known this but have gradually let bad habits slide in. Your talk was exactly what I needed to make feeding my family good, nutritious food a priority.
My son attended the workshop at school the next day. I was convinced that he would refuse the green smoothie, as he has never had anything like that at home. To my surprise, he drank it and proudly told me that he even went back for seconds.
When we are grocery shopping he regularly asks for foods I’d rather not buy. Now, instead of saying an outright no, I ask him to read the ingredients list and tell me if it’s a good choice (would Bel like it?). With the information and education you have empowered him with, he is able to read the label and of his own decision, albeit reluctantly, put the packet back on the shelf.
We still have a big journey ahead with my son and getting him to improve his intake of whole foods. However, since he attended the workshop he has been more open to trying new foods. I am extremely grateful for the guidance that you have provided both him and myself. "
– CK Goodwin
"My boy Sonny (8 years old) has always had an addiction to junk food. We limit it as best we can but he also has a wide range of food intolerances which are difficult to manage.
When Bel came with the Mad Food Science Program she made healthy smoothies with the school and my boy came home begging me for healthy foods!
It made a massive difference to him that someone other than his mum had delivered this important information to him. Thanks so much Bel."
– Emma Spouse
"The Mad Food Science Program changed my children’s attitude to school lunch boxes from day 1.
Since the first supermarket shop after the course I have not bought packaged snacks and they have not been requested. The kids are now in high school and our healthy lunch boxes continue.
The biggest take home message from your course was the importance of eating unpackaged, whole foods. I would not say they never eat junk food but they are aware that it is “sometimes food”, this is a message that I said repeatedly, however, it did not sink in until it came from you.
Thank you for working so hard to make a real difference in childhood obesity Bel."
– Lisa Singleton
“Students thoroughly enjoyed the ‘hands-on’ experiments. Very informative and certainly got the students thinking about their food choices.”
“Terrific! Great how the info ties together. In school some of this may be covered in various KLAs but science, maths, nutrition, anatomy is put in to a very convincing narrative in this workshop! Incredibly necessary info and not at all what’s available out there otherwise. We stress healthier choices, ‘sip n crunch’ and fitness, but the ‘impacts’ of poor choices not otherwise known. Loved it!”
“Extremely informative and students felt they were making the decision rather than being told. They were understanding why and it got them thinking.”
"I like the use of the One Body For Life terminology."
“A great program with examples (such as the car) that related to the students. Thank you for a great, fun, educational program.”
“A very valuable experience to give students awareness and healthy decision-making. Highly engaging with strong takeaway messages and experiments – easy for children to implement. Thank you, it was an excellent program. Very practical and relatable. Positive links for learning across KLAs (Maths / HSIE / Science etc)”
“Very eye opening! I need to be a better role model for my students too. Great way to start the conversation. Thanks! I really enjoyed learning about foods. Even as an adult I sometimes feel misled and make unhealthy choices for myself.”
Risk Free – Satisfaction Guaranteed
If for any reason your school is dissatisfied with the workshop, we will gladly arrange a second delivery of the workshop – for free – to ensure your students get the best experience possible.
We will collect all the decision maker's feedback beforehand, and make sure it is discussed in detail with the Instructor, so the second workshop is delivered to our usual high standard, and addresses any concerns.
If, after the second workshop, your school is still dissatisfied with the workshop, we will gladly arrange a refund of the full workshop fee.
All we ask at this point is the opportunity to conduct an interview with the decision makers at the school to determine what happened, what you were unhappy with, and how we might improve in the future.
NOTE: This guarantee has never been used before, and we don't foresee it ever being needed. We simply want you to feel 100% comfortable with booking The Mad Food Science Program for your school.
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