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Edible Schoolyard NOLA

Edible Schoolyard NOLA

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Changing the way children and familieseat, learn and live at FirstLine Schools in New Orleans.


Attention Class:

Dec 10, 2013

Edible Schoolyard New Orleans has a very important Shout Out. (SHOUT OUT!)

We would like to give a SHOUT OUT to all our interns and volunteers, for instilling environmental stewardship in our children;

a SHOUT OUT to our interns and volunteers, for increasing our students’ academic success and upping the chances they'll go to college;

a SHOUT OUT to our interns and volunteers, for maintaining safe, playful, and productive school gardens that show our city’s children the respect and beauty they deserve;

and a SHOUT OUT to our interns and volunteers, for fighting the racial, economic, and social injustice in New Orleans one student, one seed, and one hour at a time.

Allow us to contextualize.

This past calendar year, ESYNOLA offered 3,000 garden and kitchen classes for K-12 graders and hosted over 70 special events. Those are really high numbers, and it’s almost unfathomable considering that all of our classes involve experiential learning, which means small groups, hands-on activities, and lots of personal attention. This kind of intimate approach to education is how we teach kids and families about the ecology of Louisiana, where food comes from and how to prepare it, and how to live healthy lives.

But our staff is not huge, and the communities we serve are expanding. As FirstLine Schools has soared in academic achievement, our charter management organization has grown from two to five schools (700 to 2,800 students) in the past five years. The support of our 500+ volunteers and interns in classes, at Open Garden Days, and during special events is the reason ESYNOLA has been able to keep up with this growth while maintaining the high level of personalized attention we give our students and our five schoolyard gardens.

So we are not exaggerating when we say that ESYNOLA could not do what we do without the passion, expertise, and generosity of our interns and volunteers. 

Wheelbarrows full of jubilant, heartfelt praise to you all!

Hallie Burnett, Garden Intern at LHA, pro compost pile builder who is not afraid to try new things in the garden.

Vanessa Tanase, volunteer at LHA, whose joyful demeanor charms even the middleschoolers.

Mallory Naquin, volunteer at LHA, who comes for whole days to volunteer and brings a smile to everything.

Casey Dupart, Education Intern at LHA, a rock star at helping set up and break down classes, assisting with small groups, and crafting some seriously awesome bulletin boards.

Kelsey Gilbert, Culinary Intern at Ashe, an awesome cook, all-hands-on-deck helper with a great attitude and love for the work we do.

Zuri Obi and Tracey Lambert, Garden Interns at Ashe, always very willing to do anything to help, including working in the garden, supporting in the café, and tending compost. No job is too big or small.

Liz Mervosh, Culinary Intern at Green, a talented cook and amazing asset in the kitchen who helps with all kinds of culinary projects, including Iron Chef.

Adrienne Kartachak, Seed-to-Table Intern at Green, who helps with Garden and Kitchen projects and classes, enjoys being around kids, and is a delight to have around.

Deborah Underwood, garden volunteer-turned-part-time-hero at Green, who has a great report with students in garden classes, contributes valuable ideas and input, and spoils us with her sweet treats.

Amanda Clesi, Rebecca Au, and Rachel Springer, students from Loyola volunteering at Green, who are dedicated to helping out every week in kitchen classes, often for multiple classes per day to make the days go smoothly, and all of whom the kids have come to know and love.

Hannah Piper and Emma Weisman, Garden Interns at Green, who rock the compost and watering week after week, always come with lots of energy, and are capable and hard working.

Joe Eichner and Carolyn Ruocco, Interns at Green, who are flexible, hard working and smiley, and help wrap things up at the end of the week.

Morgan Hankin, volunteer at Green, who digs into the garden afterhours and has been a superstar at several Open Garden Days.

So many more stellar volunteers at Green: Nati Diaz, Liza Drennon, Annie Farley, Eden Friedman, Brittany Givens, Charlotte McCray, Paul Nguyen, Kendra Pierce, Josh Wilson, Toi Carter, Chloe Kingery, Jaime Orth, Ashlyn Haycook, Gabby Lilly, and Anne Barkley. These consistent helpers in the classroom and garden bring valuable skills that add to our teaching and gardening program, and even help over break to keep the garden lush.

Rosie Dupree, Intern at Clark, who takes the lead in building relationships inside and outside of the classroom. 

Sky Stewart, After School Specialist Intern at Green and Dibert, who is committed and devoted, asks great questions, and is clearly invested in the students. He keeps the Dibert garden looking beautiful, and often saves the day with sharp knives and stove skills.

Virginie Varga, network garden volunteer, who jumped right in at Dibert, took ownership of the space, and made it look amazing after a long summer!  

Mike Long, network garden volunteer, who always has a positive attitude and is willing to lend a hand with anything.  

Amber Alberta, Network Health and Wellness Intern, a tremendous help with special events such as Sweet Potato Fest and LHA Food Day, who uses her social work prowess to conduct extensive research on social/emotional programs and horticultural therapy programs.

Erin Bolles and Amanda Lo, "An Edible Evening" Co-Chairs for 2014, who are raising awareness and lots of cash for ESYNOLA through our annual spring fundraiser. Together these fearless leaders bring creativity, energy, and an army of dedicated volunteer planners dedicated to deepening our impact on the lives of children and families across the city.

Thank you all so very much!

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