Oct 18, 2011
The Edible Schoolyard is a New Orleans Firstline public charter school program looking to help boost the general well-being of the school community. It promotes local food traditions of New Orleans, learning both the history of Creole cooking, and the role it plays in the NOLA food culture. It’s a great opportunity for students to have fun, and learn something new at the same time.
The idea of FirstLine Schools is to bring about more public, open-access schools in New Orleans. With five different FirstLine Schools, and 2,400 students, it offers students a variety of educational experiences that cultivate to their social and emotional development, love of learning, and motivate them to achieve their goals. By exposing the students to different people, places, and experiences, they are broadening their horizons, enriching their minds, and making them more aware of their surroundings.
It shows students new ways to eat, learn, and even live. It brings organic gardening and seasonal cooking into the school curriculum, culture, and cafeteria. Students become involved in the hands-on work that goes into growing, harvesting, preparing and enjoying the food they produce. In doing this the students gain a sense of pride and responsibility, and learn the importance of things land,natural resources, and natural foods. Students learn to appreciate growing and eating the food that they have grown right on their own school campus.
One of the major benefits of the Edible School Garden is the Cafeteria Food program. This program strives to make the students aware of what they are eating and where that food comes from. Instead of serving the ordinary processed foods,
this program offers students healthy options, like fresh fruit, vegetables, salads, and more whole grain meals. Having fresh produce at the school, especially when the students are involved in the process of growing the food, teaches to the students to value what they eat.
This program does not stop at just producing, and enjoying food, but it invites people to take parts in its many special events. Some of these events include; meet the farmer, where students get to meet local produce farmers, Freret Market days, every first Saturday of the month during the school year the Edible Schoolyard will have a tent at the Freret Market, and open garden days, where anyone is invited to come and help keep the gardens looking beautiful.
The Edible Schoolyard is not closed to outsiders. Volunteers are not only welcome, but also a big part in the success of this program. Showing the students that it is good to care for and be committed to enriching the community. So not only can volunteers help make a difference in the students lives, but they too can gain a sense of achievement for doing something good in their community.
The Edible Schoolyard is a fun way for students and families, and all those associated with the school community to get involved. Students take part in the production of growing their own food, seeing how it is done, and at the same time learning to appreciate the food more.