The Kitchen Garden Laboratory Gardens are established in public schools in low-income neighborhoods across the nation. Children tend to the garden themselves, pick the food they grow, and learn how to cook vegetable-based recipes.
In addition to traditional outdoor gardens, KGL with its partner Green Bronx Machine, are also pioneering the use of Tower Gardens, vertical hydroponic growing systems, that allow for indoor farming year round in classrooms.
Currently, KGL has gardens at Northfield Elementary School in Northfield, Minnesota; James John Elementary School in Portland, Oregon and at Public School 55 in the South Bronx, New York.
Young Chefs Program (http://youngchefsprogram.org/)
Together with partner, Young Chefs, KGL engages youth with scientific concepts and culinary learning by using hands-on cooking experiments (i.e. kitchen science) to ignite their interest in STEM subjects and careers and in healthy eating.
Founded in 2011 at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota by undergraduate chemistry major, Vayu M. Rekdal, who is now a Harvard University Ph.D. candidate, Young Chefs works as a weekly afterschool program engaging youth with scientific and culinary concepts. Its outreach efforts revolve around its extensive cooking-science curriculum which is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.
The Young Chefs Program aspires to use its cooking-science model to address current needs in health and science education by engaging students with food through science and with science through food. The program empowers youth with the skills and knowledge they need not only to make better food choices, but also to become proficient in quantitative reasoning and science.
Together, KGL and Young Chefs not only provide unique and engaging learning experiences, but also represent an effective and accessible option for science and health education for youth deemed at risk for poor health and poor academic performance.
In addition to the Minnesota program, KGL and Young Chefs have organized programs with Harvard Medical School’s summer study program for Native American students and local Boston area students (https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2015/08/food-for-thought) and with the New York City Board of Education STEM Institute (http://ny.chalkbeat.org/2015/07/09/robots-legos-and-famous-chef-at-citys-new-summer-stem-training/#.VuMq1vkgu1s) to train middle school teachers to incorporate the “science of cooking” in their classrooms.
Green Bronx Machine (http://greenbronxmachine.org/)
Kitchen Garden Laboratory partners with the South Bronx-based non-profit Green Bronx Machine and its founder Stephen Ritz on several urban gardening and science of cooking initiatives for students, parents, teachers and New York City at large.
At Green Bronx Machine’s headquarters at P.S. 55, in the recently opened National Health, Wellness and Learning Center, KGL founder Bill Yosses conducts regular cooking of science lessons with the school’s students. They cook the vegetables grown on site at the center’s urban tower garden year round.
In addition, the two organizations team up annually to produce the Taste of the World Kids Kitchen (http://nyttravelshow.com/general-information/kids-kitchen/) at the New York Times Travel Show.
New York City Board of Education STEM Institute has contracted with Kitchen Garden Laboratory and its founder Bill Yosses to bring its middle school science teachers professional development opportunities that instructs them on using cooking as a medium to teach science in their classrooms.
In 2010, in conjunction with Ferran Adria of El Bulli and Alicia in Spain, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science started a course entitled “Science and Cooking”. Chefs, including KGL’s Yosses, were invited to come speak to the introductory physics class and to demonstrate principles of physics using their cooking techniques.
This innovative program of introductory physics seen through the lens of cooking and taught by a combination of physics professors and professional chefs was a breakthrough moment in both science and kitchen science. The parallels of science and cooking in this course continue a tradition of “scientific cooking” that has been a branch of gastronomy since the invention of fire. This method of teaching science also revealed that food could be a gateway to understanding scientific concepts on a visceral, sensual level. Something very new was at hand.
KGL’s Yosses continues to teach at Harvard and its “Science and Cooking” course (https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2014/08/science-cooking-lecture-series-returns-to-harvard-on-september-8), has gone on to create a “Physics of Chocolate” course at Georgia Tech (https://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/51754?show=full) and is involved with UCLA’s Healthy Campus initiative (http://healthy.ucla.edu/), training undergraduate and graduate students to teach “cooking of science” lessons to local families in underserved communities.