Edible Schoolyard New Orleans

Program Type: Garden Classrooms, Kitchen Classrooms, School Cafeterias, Academic Classrooms
Grade/Age: Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
Number Served: 2,000-5,000
Year Founded: 2006

Who We Are
Founded in 2006, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESY NOLA) changes the way children eat, learn, and live at five (5) FirstLine public charter schools in New Orleans. Our goal is to empower generations of New Orleans children to build and maintain healthy relationships with food, themselves, the natural world and their community. We involve students in all aspects of growing, harvesting, preparing and enjoying food together as a means of awakening their senses, cultivating a school environment that promotes a sense of pride and responsibility for our land and natural resources, and developing a love of fresh, seasonal foods.


Edible Schoolyard New Orleans envisions generations of New Orleans children who have healthy relationships with food, the natural world, themselves, and their community.


To teach children to make healthy connections through food. Our aim is to ensure the long-term well being of students, families, and school communities by: 

  • Integrating hands-on kitchen and garden classes into the school curriculum and culture
  • Inviting students, families, and the community to experience local food through joyful events involving chefs, farmers, and community partners
  • Supporting core academic learning in garden and kitchen learning environments
  • Maintaining beautiful school gardens that stimulate students' curiosity and desire to learn about the natural world
  • Cultivating safe spaces for social and emotional development
  • Collaborating to provide healthy nutritious food in welcoming school cafeterias

Edible Gardening: Teaching children how to grow their own food
Through hands-on gardening classes tied to life science lessons, students experience the joys and hard work of growing their own food right on their very own school campuses. Our largest edible garden is 1/3 of an acre at Green Charter School, and we have gardens at each of our five school sites.

Kitchen Programming: Teaching children how to prepare and enjoy the food they grow
ESYNOLA provides a comprehensive seed-to-table experience for our students. Hands-on cooking classes provide the opportunity to prepare and enjoy the foods grown in our gardens.

Cafeteria Meals Program                                                                                              

We have helped transform FirstLine Schools’ daily breakfast, lunch and snack offerings from a highly-processed traditional school food menu to one that incorporates daily fresh fruit and vegetables, salads, home-cooked entrees and increased whole grain offerings. We are teaching our students how to eat and appreciate nutritious, delicious seasonal foods.

Community and Family Programming: Fun for Everyone!
ESYNOLA provides food education opportunities for our students’ families and the community at large through special events, including Food and Family Nights (entire families learn how to cook seasonally from the garden); Open Garden Days (which involve the school and neighborhood in gardening, composting, and harvesting, followed by community lunch); and Budding Entrepreneurs (middle-schoolers sell their produce and value-added products created from the Garden at our local neighborhood markets).


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Name Description

Amelia Bird


Claudia Barker


Matthew Durham


Amie Marvel


Ashley Dumich


Hillary Marker


Kelly Atkinson


Kelly is the Administrator of the Edible Schoolyard Kern County Programs, through the Grimm Family Education Foundation. As a...

Molly Hughes


Sanjay Kharod

Last updated March 5, 2017