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New Teaching Garden at East High School

Alex Crichton

A new teaching garden allows East High School students to learn all about the concept of farm to fork.

The teaching garden is over 2,000 square feet of fruits vegetables, perennials, sunflower batches and more, designed to provide a hands-on learning experience for culinary students at the school.

Culinary Arts teacher at East, Jeff Christiano, says this new initiative, made possible through a number of different partners, enables students to understand the whole concept of farm to table.

"They're really going to see where their food comes from, and once they know where it comes from, how it's used in the kitchen," he says.

That kitchen will include the one in the Village Gate restaurant RYCE, or Rochester Youth Culinary Experience, expected to open in the fall.

It'll be run by students, and 2016 Culinary Arts grad Dominique Brown will be one of the managers there.


"We're going to take the plants and what's in the garden to the restaurant and actually cook with it," he says.

Overall, the Teaching Garden will give students hands-on experience about nutrition education and health literacy.

That's according to Marc Natale, Executive Director of the American Heart Association, one of the partners in the new initiative.

He says the 170 culinary students at the school will maintain and use the garden.

"To really bring an emphasis on healthier eating habits, and bringing the value back of eating healthier in an area of our community that really doesn't have healthy food access," he said.

Teacher Jeff Christiano adds that this kind of hands-on learning will increase confidence and employability, which is the ultimate goal.

Here are students and initiative partners getting their knees dirty in the new Teaching Garden: