Young Chefs Collaborates with Kitchen Garden Laboratory, Announces Building of School Garden

This January, former White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses visited Carleton College to share his passion for science, cooking, and social change with the community, including our Young Chefs. We are now proud to announce a new chapter in our collaboration with Mr Yosses and more broadly, highlight another milestone in the development of Young Chefs.

Thanks to the hard work of Christian Purnell (’17) and Erin Roth (’16), a Young Chefs volunteer since 2013 and now a Program Director in Faribault, Young Chefs has been to approved to build a garden at the Northfield Middle School, allowing us to now incorporate farming and gardening into our curriculum.

Erin Roth ’16 first initiated the idea of a garden during her time studying environmental education in New Zealand this past winter, preparing an extensive grant proposal on the garden as part of her final project. And now, this idea is becoming reality. The initiative is funded by the Kitchen Garden Laboratory, an Oregon-based non-profit founded by Bill Yosses and social entrepreneur Rick Montgomery (founder of Global Roots). This newly established organization focuses on bringing science education, cooking, and gardening to undeserved communities by initiating school garden projects across the U.S

Christian Purnell ’17, who is from Oregon, has volunteered with Kitchen Garden Laboratory since high school. He also played a pivotal role in catalyzing this new partnership, bringing his invaluable experience and expertise to the process. Linda Oto, the Youth Development Coordinator at the Northfield Middle School, also contributed significantly by helping facilitate conversations and logistics with the public school district. Finally, the Carleton Center for Community and Civic Engagement provided much-needed infrastructure and support throughout the planning stages.

The garden will be used not only as a source of our ingredients and cooking material, but also as a laboratory for teaching new scientific principles and methods relating to plant biology, geoscience, and microbiology. It will also play a central role in our continued summer programming in Northfield, MN.

We will develop the garden together with Middle School students and staff starting in a couple of weeks, and are hoping to have our first plants ready by mid-spring, continuing growing through October.

This effort reflects the shared vision of Young Chefs and Kitchen Garden Laboratory to combine hands-on food education with science outreach to create social change. Soon enough, our Young Chefs will have the opportunity to engage with scientific and culinary learning through food as it develops from the seed to the plate.

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