Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) is a signature program of FirstLine Schools, an open-admissions charter school management organization whose mission is to create and inspire great open-admissions public schools in New Orleans by ensuring college readiness and offering a rich variety of educational experiences that nurture character, health and active citizenship. ESYNOLA supports FirstLine’s vision of excellent education for all children by creating experiential, hands-on environmental and health education experiences in the most non-traditional school spaces: gardens and teaching kitchens.
ESYNOLA's mission is to empower generations of New Orleans children to build and maintain healthy relationships with food, the natural world, themselves and their community. Their activities include offering 3,900+ garden and kitchen-based classes for 3,135 students across four K-8s and one high school, through a fully-integrated LA standards-based academic curriculum. Their gardens produce over 4,000 lbs. of food, available to families and neighbors, and are used by entrepreneurial middle-schoolers to create and sell garden-based products to the community. Children at two FirstLine Schools also receive formal nutrition- and culture-based culinary classes that teach everything from socialization to proper knife and food-prepping skills. About 70 grade-level edible experiences connect children and families to local farmers and to a variety of healthy foods, including a minimum of 20 family and community-driven Open Garden Days and other special garden build days that offer practical knowledge, physical activity, and mental and emotional health support, and at least 10 Family Food Nights and food-based wellness events where healthy food preparation complements dissemination of dietetic and nutritional information, and healthy recipes and ingredients for families to replicate the meal at home.