Bayside MLK Academy Garden and Nutrition Program/ Conscious Kitchen
Vision: Garden and Nutrition Program
The purpose of the Garden Program is to teach students about healthy food systems, the science of how food grows, and the importance of nutrition and a healthy diet. Working closely with teachers and staff, the garden program curriculum is designed to meet Academic Standards while teaching students how to grow and cook their own food. The garden is an outdoor classroom, a living science lab. Through observation, inquiry based learning, and hands-on activities, students interact with their education experientially. The class instruction and welcoming space in the garden inspires environmental stewardship in each student by facilitating their personal relationships to the garden and nature. Further, we educate them about food access, food justice and living sustainably in a changing world. The garden is interconnected to the larger whole of the school, the Conscious Kitchen and the community of Marin City.
The Conscious Kitchen
The Conscious Kitchen is dedicated to a systemic transformation of school food programs, to the health and well being of our children, and to a thriving future for our planet. Teens Turning Green launched the pilot program at Bayside MLK Academy in Marin City, California on August 28, 2013. We set out to break the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, overly processed, heat and serve food, by introducing, preparing, and serving fresh, local, organic, seasonal, non-GMO, scratch-cooked food to 170 students, staff, and faculty for breakfast and lunch each day. The Conscious Kitchen is supported by an interdisciplinary garden and nutrition curriculum. Now in our third year, the program is self-sustaining, successful, and fully integrated into the community.
In Fall 2015, TCK expanded to its second site, Willow Creek Academy, forming the first 100% organic and non-GMO school district in the country. In 2015-2016, the program will serve a total of 550 students more than 120,000 FLOSN meals.
We aim to nurture and continue growing the program, demonstrating to leaders in similar communities that students CAN be served fresh, local, organic, seasonal, non-GMO, scratch-cooked food within the USDA nutritional guidelines and within their budget. The Conscious Kitchen is living proof.
The Garden and Nutrition Program at Bayside MLK was established by Growing Great in 2010. Growing Great and their partner organizations did an amazing job at building a flourishing garden and education program. They also began the journey towards an appreciation for organic food and sustainability at the school. Largely becuase of their time and hard work, the Conscios Kitchen was able to have its first year as an affordable healthy lunch program at the K-8 school. The Garden and Nutrition Program and Conscious Kitchen are now creating a formal partnership and will be working together with the entire school to make an interconnected whole systems healthy school next year and into the future. One of our goals is to provide more food to the cafeteria from the garden and mini farm space.