8 June 2017
He might be fresh out of university but that hasn’t stopped USC Nutrition and Dietetics graduate Nicholas Zaccardi from planning big as he sets up his own practice in Gympie.
Called The Farming Dietitian, Mr Zaccardi, 24, has started a mobile clinic from his base on the family farm at Widgee, while he searches for a location for a practice and works on plans to open his own country kitchen cooking school.
“I chose to become a dietitian because it is remarkable how making the right food choices and simple tweaks to our diets can profoundly improve our health,” he said.
Since graduating from USC with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics in April, Mr Zaccardi has expanded his mobile nutrition counselling services to include healthy cooking classes and grocery store tours.
He has presented talks on nutrition to sporting clubs, community groups and members of the Gympie Regional Library, and is setting up group cooking classes for the elderly.
“They will learn how to cook quick, easy and nourishing meals, while exploring the importance of good nutrition, healthy ageing and maintaining independence,” he said.
In the long term, he plans to also open a kitchen on his family’s farm, which is run using organic principles, to offer cooking workshops based on fresh, simple healthy food choices.
“Participants will be able to experience all there is to farming, from planting and harvesting and milking cows and goats, to learning how to cook with the produce they pick.”
He said the USC degree gave him the building blocks to become a successful dietitian. “When it comes to setting up my own business, I am learning on the fly, with the help of a mentor I connected with during a university placement.”
Originally from Melbourne, Mr Zaccardi moved with his parents to the Sunshine Coast in 2011 and completed Year 12 at Mountain Creek State High School before the family purchased farmland at Widgee.
He said the proximity of USC’s main campus at Sippy Downs, and the University’s focus on face-to-face teaching, made it an obvious choice.
“I did attend a Brisbane university before USC, however the class sizes were much larger and the lecturers did not know who you were,” he said.
“USC was the opposite and the lecturers knew you by name, which made the whole experience much more positive.
“The teaching staff in the Nutrition and Dietetics program were very knowledgeable and went the extra mile to ensure we got the most out of our classes.”
Applications are now open for mid-year entry to study at USC, starting Semester 2 on 24 July. Details on how to apply for more than 90 undergraduate and postgraduate programs can be found at www.usc.edu.au/midyear.
— Clare McKay