Curriculum to Cafe

Raquel Jacquez
Raquel Jacquez is the Administrator of the Edible Schoolyard Programs for the Grimm Family Education Foundation. Raquel previously spent time as both a garden and kitchen teacher in the Berkeley Unified School District. During her time in Berkeley, she realized that the role of food in education could have a powerful impact on the health and well-being of today’s youth. As a native to Bakersfield and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, she is excited to be back home and working toward implementing the vision of the Grimm Family Education Foundation in the communities of Kern County.

The educational mission at Grimmway Academy includes a commitment to improve the health of the entire community by teaching students and their families ways to establish and maintain life-long healthy eating habits. An integral component of the school’s success is its focus on not only the quality of food provided to students, but the education that students receive about the food.​

Students connect with their food through real-life experiences and hands-on lessons in the Edible Schoolyard garden and kitchen classrooms. The fully integrated Edible Schoolyard program includes 24 hands-on garden and kitchen lessons for every child at Grimmway Academy, professional development for staff and administration, parent education forums, and family cooking classes. Additionally, the kitchen classroom often provides the Grimmway Cafe with new hand picked recipes by the students.

The innovative blended learning model that Grimmway Academy has adopted allows for Edible Schoolyard curriculum to happen seamlessly across all grade levels throughout the school year.  All students rotate classrooms throughout the school day and the garden and kitchen classrooms are a part of the rotation in the same manner as math, humanities and English language arts.  The curriculum of the program is divided into two classrooms - garden and kitchen classroom learning.  Each classroom integrates hands-on learning with academic and life skills lessons to empower students to take ownership over their health and food choices while also integrating math, science, social studies and language arts.

In addition to teaching students garden and kitchen life skills in the Edible Schoolyard, kitchen classes are often used as a lab for testing new recipes that will later appear in the Grimmway Academy Cafe. When Edible Schoolyard teachers notice that students are overwhelmingly favorable toward a particular recipe, the Grimmway Cafe chefs adopt the recipe and add it to the school lunch menu for the month!  At least once a week, recipes from the Edible Schoolyard kitchen are served in the Grimmway Academy Cafe to reinforce the learning that is happening in the kitchen classroom and to give new excitement to the school breakfast or lunch.

Both of the Grimmway Academy Cafe's chefs trained at Culinary Institute of America. Their training and expertise is used daily to prepare 100% of school lunch meals from scratch. These scratch meals give students many opportunities to try new foods and experience different textures, flavors, and ingredients in a variety of ways. This flexibility also allows the chefs to frequently include Edible Schoolyard recipes to reinforce what the students have learned in the kitchen classroom and create dishes that reflect what is currently growing in the garden.  

The Grimmway Academy Cafe maintains a 97% average of participation in school breakfast and a 97% average in school lunch. The success of the Grimmway Academy cafe can be attributed to students’ education about ingredients, their understanding of the importance of eating healthy meals to maintain energy and focus throughout the extended school day, and the students’ continued investment in what is being served during the school day. Grimmway Academy maintains a 98% average attendance rate, which is an integral part of the school’s academic success and just one of the direct results of their strong commitment to a comprehensive health and wellness initiative on campus.

Grimmway Academy is public charter school and an initiative of the Grimm Family Education Foundation in Bakersfield, California. Grimmway Academy was recently named a California Distinguished School with an Exemplary Physical Activity and Nutrition Program by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. To learn more, please visit