Here’s what’s been “Growin’ On” at Edible Schoolyard New Orleans:
Sweet Potato Fest
Each Fall the Arthur Ashe Charter School community comes out to celebrate our favorite fall crop, the sweet potato, with a festival dedicated to this glorious tuber. On Saturday, October 21, 2023 hundreds of Ashe family members came out to celebrate their children, their school, and the sweet potatoes grown in the school garden.
Spanish Cooking Club
For the students in Spanish Cooking Club, the 50 quick minutes together in the kitchen transforms their day. Overcoming a challenge – whether that be deciphering a recipe, learning a new language, or sharing knowledge with peers – pulls students out of their comfort zone and leaves them proud of the tangible (and delicious) result that their learning and teamwork have produced.
Fifteen for Fifteen
You already know the importance of environmental and food education for all New Orleans children. Over the past 15 years, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans has supported those children who have been historically excluded from high quality hands-on learning opportunities due to racial and socioeconomic inequities.
Would you help us to continue this work for 15 more years?
Fifteen Years of Edible Education at FirstLine Schools
Getting to this place–where what used to be a concrete yard next to a school is now a living, breathing, food-producing ecosystem, powered and beloved and owned by students–has taken us… awhile. Wander with us along the winding garden path that is our 15-year history, and we will point out some sights along the way.
Hurricane Recovery & the Resilient Cowpea
When reviewing the damage, we noticed that Wheatley’s garden was able to recover from the storm quite quickly. A central reason why was because early in the summer the team had planted cowpeas as a cover crop.
Spotlight on a Wheatley Garden Class
“Cup the gumbo in your hand, smell the gumbo really big, and blow on it to cool it down,” says a student. The garden teacher reinforces by demonstrating the action alongside him. In a moment of synergy, all the students inhale the scent of invisible gumbo in their hands just blocks away from Dooky Chase Restaurant, home of Leah Chase’s famous gumbo. These moments of connection to the history of the neighborhood are intentional, and grounding.
Edible Evening @ Home Recap
Burlap, garden flower bouquets, Company Burger… and your pets are able to join the party? Edible Evening @ Home took place on March 3-5, 2021, and featured many of our favorite elements from our annual garden party under the stars while welcoming some new additions to our at-home version.
Edible Education on the National Stage
While most of our energy and time goes towards teaching children to make healthy connections through food and the natural world in our classes, events, and the care of our four school gardens, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans also seeks to contribute to the national movement of edible education through trainings, external advocacy, peer networking, and sharing resources with allied organizations.
Three Cheers for Katie Pedroza
Following her weekly pathway through the Ashe playground, Katie led visitors toward the main school building. Kindergarteners who spotted Katie stopped mid-play, and a handful of students stood up and bounced the merry-go-round, waving their arms.
“Chef Kay-tee! Chef Kay-tee! Chef Kay-tee!”
Mama Goat: Life of a School Animal
When Mama Goat arrived at the Dreamkeeper Garden at Langston Hughes Academy in 2013, she was gentle, already a mother to grown goats, and pregnant again.
Edible Evening @ Home
“In normal times,” writes food writer Ian McNulty in a recent article, “community groups and nonprofits turn to restaurants constantly to support their events. With the restaurant industry facing dire struggles in the pandemic, some New Orleans events are turning that equation around, restructuring fundraisers so that they benefit the restaurants too.”
Edible Education in a Pandemic
When schools closed in March 2020, our team went to work to find new ways to keep students and families connected to school gardens and good food, provide social and emotional support, and reinforce academic concepts.
Bistro Green 2019
“Who kids are in the academic classroom or on the playing field… it doesn’t matter here. It doesn’t matter when you’re serving your family. It’s a different skill and all positive,” said Chef Megan. “Students are genuinely proud to show off what’s theirs and what they’ve done. They’re really awesome. Kids are awesome.”
Marsha Bard’s #GardenerTakeover
This year, we are all going to see through some of our gardeners’ eyes as our site gardeners “take over” ESYNOLA social media. With a few photos, our gardeners give us a first-hand view of what it looks and feels like to spend time in each of our school gardens, illuminating joyful moments, gorgeous details, hard work, and multifaceted connections made in in an ESYNOLA garden! In Marsha Bard’s #gardenertakeover, she brings us into the Ashe garden and greenhouse.
Coalition-Building Across the Field of Edible Education
The success of the Founding Edible Schoolyard programs and the thousands of other garden and culinary education programs across the country, have proven that edible education is effective across and adaptable to a range of cultures, climates, and organizational and funding models.
Student Interview: Markiaj Tero
“I made a lot of new friends in garden [class]. And all my friends love garden as much as I love it… This is the only class when you get to come outside, and take a breath of the fresh air, and see animals, and grow plants.” – Markiaj Tero
Sweet Potato Fest 2019
- A giant paper maché sweet potato with googly eyes carried in a parade
- Sweet potato biscuits and muffins, handmade by K-8 students
- While harvesting sweet potatoes, children find creatures who thrive in the habitat of the sweet potato vines: butterflies, frogs, legless lizards, and field mice
These are the kinds of joyful associations with local food made at our 7th Annual Sweet Potato Fest
Wheatley’s Garden is Growing!
Network Garden Manager Emily Neustrom says, “The garden’s rounded garden beds and unexpected elements encourage students to pause as they wander, and be surprised by what’s around the corner.” The redesign reflects ESYNOLA’s commitment to creating beautiful spaces that encourage wonder, while creating a shaded and safe learning space for even the hottest months and during light rain days.