OJA Edible Schoolyard

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If they grow it, they will eat it. That’s the theory rooting itself at Orlando Junior Academy’s Edible Schoolyard, a program that includes a teaching garden where students are learning about food with their hands in the soil.

Growing A Healthy Community: Orlando Junior Academy Edible Schoolyard

Now in its second year, the program was started by Brad Jones and Sarah Cahill with the hopes of not only providing bounty for the school’s all-vegetarian lunch menu but also involving students in a cross-curriculum study of food. As a result, students have been able to use the garden and the kitchen classroom as the launching pad for lessons not just in healthy eating, but in math, science and social studies as well.

This garden not only provides the bounty for the school’s all vegetarian lunch menu but also involves the students in cross-curriculum study of food.

“We teach them how to read a recipe, table etiquette, even knife skills,” says Sarah Cahill, who delivers the kitchen curriculum with the help of K Restaurant chef- owner Kevin Fonzo. In the process of transforming food from the garden to meals on their plate, students learn a lot about the journey from farm to fork.

“If we’re going to get kids to eat good things, we need to start from seed,” Cahill says. “So many of them think everything comes out of a box. But we’re able to teach the process of how food becomes food.” Cahill sees the impact reaching far beyond her own students. “These kids are changing their parents’ way of seeing things. They really are our hope. The only way to fix obesity is to focus on this generation.”

If you would like to learn more about the Edible Schoolyard please visit edibleschoolyard.org.

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