For four years, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Garden’s organic soil had been cultivated making it loose, fluffy and easy to plant—filled with air that plant roots need — and with plenty of minerals essential for vigorous plant growth—then along came construction of the Kitchen House.
Back-to-School typically means new uniforms, binders and lunch boxes and this year, for Orlando Junior Academy students, it also meant educational construction site tours of the soon coming Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden.
Jose Venegas, of Midtown Architecture Studio, was on hand to lead small groups of students and parents through the 3,500 sq. ft. kitchen house, as part of OJA’s Back-to-School Bash on August 7. Venegas was quoted as saying, “Making a building like this is a privilege. I always enjoy telling others of the beautiful vision it will soon share with our community.”
Educational highlights included: Identifying different construction shapes found in the roof and wall framing, figuring square footage and learning the science behind environmental-friendly elements such as metal roofing and water catchment, resulting in LEED certification.
Parents offered many positive responses including, "This resource will truly differentiate OJA from other schools" and "I can feel the excitement--there's so much positive energy around what's going to happen here!"
Students were especially excited about getting to wear hard hats and signing their name on one of the walls to memorialize their part in this special project. Many of the kids also took the opportunity to write a note of thanks to Massey Services for the non-toxic termite treatment that was gifted to the project. Special recognition also goes to HuntonBrady, architect of record, and E2Homes for prepping the site for the day's visitors.
The garden was also enjoyed as students and parents sipped cool citrus-and-mint-flavored water, offered by gracious volunteers, while observing the butterflies flitting from flower to flower.
Edible Education Experience looks forward to project completion in November and sharing this new community kitchen classroom with kids where cooking and gardening are integrated into school curriculum and beyond . . .