A Dunedin Women's Refuge initiative is proving to be food for
The Healthy Eating, Heathy Action programme was developed to
help the recovery of young people who have been exposed to
domestic violence, by teaching them how to grow vegetables
and cooking skills.
Most of the course participants associated food with
violence, Te Whare Pounamu Women's Refuge advocate Maria
Jones said yesterday.
''People do not realise that a lot of domestic violence
happens in the kitchen and around meals, in front of the
children. Children of domestic violence often learn to avoid
the kitchen, as there are objects there that can hurt and it
is a place where their mothers can be bullied, verbally
harrassed and hurt.''
Nearly 70 young people, aged between 5 and 16, had completed
the 10-week programme over the past year.
''While we plant and garden and cook, they feel safe to share
stories of having their meals thrown across the room or, with
their tight, stressed tummies, being made to eat their meals.
In some cases, not having food, or just drinking water for
sustenance came up,'' Ms Jones said.
''After our programme, we clearly see children making an
effort to engage with mum around food, help her in food
preparation and using meal times to talk about positive
The refuge published a recipe book this month based on the
programme, Tamariki Master Chef and Gardener.