NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has announced it will open its newest Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen at The Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago. The signature program is a national education program that integrates culinary gardens and teaching kitchens in schools to create interactive learning environments centered on food. “We are excited to bring our signature program to Chicago, an area with an expanding garden program already in place within the public school system,” said Emeril Lagasse. “With this sixth school partner, the program will reach even more children, helping to enrich their lives through a fun, fresh perspective on food.”

The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) is a Chicago Public Charter School located on the underserved Southwest side of Chicago. The elementary and middle school takes an innovative and holistic approach to education which aims to foster systemic change and inspire the way society educates future generations. Since its founding in 2005, the AGC has been addressing Chicago’s educational, environmental, and racial healthcare inequities, where it serves 96% minority constituents. With the goal of providing an opportunity for children and families in the most under-resourced neighborhoods, AGC utilizes an innovative, whole-child learning model rooted in social justice, environmental education, entrepreneurship, and dual language wellness opportunities. In April 2022, the AGC broke ground on a six-acre demonstration site, Cultivate Collective, built at the world’s highest standard for sustainability in an area affected by decades of injustices. Cultivate serves as a new campus for the AGC, as well as an incubator for innovation in environmental conservation and community learning, including a health care center, urban farm, community wellness hub, and early childhood center.

To date, over 2,700 students have been engaged in the program, benefiting 4000+ parents, teachers, and family members. The Academy for Global Citizenship will join the list of the current five school partners: Belle Chasse Academy in Belle Chasse, Louisiana; Cunningham Elementary School in Austin, Texas; DC Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.; Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville, CA; and Dr. John Ochsner Discovery Health Sciences Academy in New Orleans.

The program’s teachers report measurable impacts on the children enrolled in the partner schools. Ninety-six percent of teachers agree the program has improved the student attitude toward fresh fruits and vegetables, 88% of teachers report an overall improvement in student academic performance, and 100% of teachers confirm an improvement in student knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating choices.

Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen helps fulfill the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s mission to create opportunities to inspire, mentor, and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition, and arts education. In addition to this signature program, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation has distributed $18  million to nonprofit organizations supporting children.