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In this Google Hangout co-hosted by the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Community, we spoke with three school garden programs from West Virginia, California, and Oregon about their challenges and successes in starting and sustaining school garden programs. We were also joined by a community author who read questions from the audience which we collected over social media channels.
Julia Cotts, Executive Director of the Garden School Foundation: The Garden School Foundation is the leading garden-based learning organization in Los Angeles focusing on how schools can best access the powerful and transformative potential gardens have for students and their families. Their ¾ acre garden classroom at an elementary school in South LA serves as the premier model for the city, with students there visiting the garden every day of the year for classes in everything from cooking and nutrition to Science and Social Studies! They are currently publishing their Seed to Table curriculum and working to expand their groundbreaking program to many thousands more children in 2013.
Anne Lupo, Assistant Principal at North Elementary in Morgantown, WV: Their Garden-Based Learning project allows teachers to incorporate hands-on learning across the curriculum. They are introducing young people to healthier eating habits as well as expanding their palates. They currently have 13 raised garden beds and will be expanding our garden by 5 more beds that will produce foods from different countries around the world.
Sarah Sullivan, Kitchen Garden Program Coordinator at the Abernethy School in Portland, OR: Abernethy Elementary’s School Kitchen Garden program provides kids with comprehensive food-based education, garden space, a working kitchen with a chef and fresh produce eaten at meals. A key part of their program is our “Garden of Wonders,” which is the living laboratory for the study of math, science, history, the culture of food, ecology, agriculture, and health. Students harvest food daily to taste, prepare, or have as part of their lunch in the school’s working cafeteria. The school kitchen feeds over 400 students each day, and also serves as Portland Public School District’s demonstration site, sourcing local, seasonal ingredients and testing nutrient-packed recipes using whole foods and minimally processed ingredients.
About the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Community:
Since August, the Food Revolution Team has been facilitating online conversations the global community. Their real food chats have ranged from topics such as school food regulations and volunteering in your community to celebrating real food and Food Day, and live holiday cooking tips from global chefs. They are continually inspired by the amazing things happening in homes, schools and communities around the world, and they love sharing them with a wider audience.