College Park cooking classes give kids farm-to-table experience

Edible Education Experience offers cooking classes, community gardening, more

COLLEGE PARK, Fla. – Empowering students and their communities through seed-to-table experiences is the goal of the Edible Education Experience.

It's housed at the Emeril Lagasse Kitchen House and Culinary Garden in Orlando's College Park neighborhood.

Each year, Orlando Junior Academy fifth though eighth grade students take one semester of edible education cooking classes.

"I like spending time here because it's really fun. I get to talk to my friends and make food and eat it afterwards," said fifth grader Oliver Merveille.

Culinary educator Erica Asti said the class often makes recipes involving ingredients from the garden. This week, students made cider molasses glazed vegetables. The molasses, she said, was made from sugar cane grown in the garden.

"But on top of that, they're learning about nutrition. They're learning about life skills, like teamwork, mindfulness, patience, like when we're baking cookies and those come out of the oven and everybody wants one, but waiting for that moment when we all get to eat together," Asti said.

Fifth grade student Ramona Florirdor-White said she loves taking recipes home and cooking with her family.

"Sometimes I tell my dad some of the recipes we've made here and I try them out with my dad and that's always so fun," she said. "He's always like, 'Where have you learned this stuff?' And I'm like, 'At my school.' That's how amazing my school is. I really like it here."

Edible Education Experience offers cooking classes, camps and field trips, as well as Sunday community gardening.

For more information on any of these programs, click here.

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