Edible Education Experience
Edible Education Experience (EdibleEdExp) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which aims to connect kids with seed-to-table, garden-to-classroom, hands-on learning experiences to build a healthy future.
The seedling of a simple idea was planted back in 2003, when OJA parent Brad Jones helped build a vegetable garden outside the 1st grade classrooms. As the garden expanded and cooking classes added, the “edible education experience” concept quickly grew in complexity and popularity among OJA students, parents, educators, community leaders, and volunteers.
Since that humble beginning, EdibleEdExp has blossomed into a full-blown, hands-on, integrated curriculum, with four volunteer staff members at the helm: Janice Banks, Executive Director; Brad Jones, Garden Coordinator; and Kevin Fonzo and Sarah Cahill as Chef Educators. Fonzo is an award-winning Chef/Owner of K Restaurant while Cahill operates as a freelance Certified Raw Food Chef and Holistic Nutrition Educator. Chef Allyson Schurig, Certified Home Economics Teacher and Cordon Bleu Culinary School Graduate, joined the team in 2016 and is responsible for developing student programming.
In 2014, EdibleEdExp received capital grants from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and Florida Hospital for Children to build a one-of-a-kind space and expand its garden-to-classroom programs and serve the broader community. Located directly across the street from OJA, the 3,500 sq.ft. Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House features a commercial kitchen classroom with four hands-on cooking stations, including food prep and hand-washing sinks, 2 gas ovens, refrigerator, and freezer. In the 1,500 sq. ft. Culinary Garden, volunteers and students grow seasonal produce year-round to use in the EdibleEdExp curriculum, community outreach, and edible education special events. The garden sits adjacent to a covered outdoor veranda, complete with picnic tables and ample seating to enable fresh-air education.
Beginning in 2017, the top goals for Edible Education Experience are:
· To complete the Kitchen House building project and hold Grand Opening events.
· To serve as a healthy lifestyle field-trip destination that makes school curriculum relevant in a hands-on, deeper learning environment.
· To expand edible education experiences for kids to include after-school enrichment programs, healthy lifestyle camps, and special events.
· To connect with under-served schools and communities, teaching the basics of gardening and cooking to develop healthy life skills.
· To become a Summer Food Program location and help make a positive impact in the fight against childhood obesity.
· To be a resource to educators and parents interested in cooking and gardening for their students and families.
For the most current information, please visit www.EdibleEd.org.
Janice Banks, Executive Director, Cell: 407-625-7770, janice@EdibleEd.org