Discovery Day Academy Plants Edible School Yard

Edible_Schoolyard_t607Discovery Day Academy, located in Bonita Springs, recently implemented an edible schoolyard featuring a large variety of herbs, strawberries, kale, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, fruit trees and more with the help of parents, students and staff members who gathered to help plant the fruits, vegetables and herbs. The garden was made possible thanks to sponsors including Florida Gulf Coast Ear, Nose and Throat; Driftwood Garden Center; and the Gahan, Chaffee, Bennett, Stegman, Flemming, Killion, Cardenas, Reif, Foster, Vandermeer, Faramo, Benham and Garcia families.

The edible schoolyard is the first step in developing the 21st century school’s culinary arts program that will involve the students in all phases, including planting the seeds, caring for the plants, harvesting the crops and using them to prepare the food. Elizabeth Garcia, Discovery Day Academy’s founder and head of school, said the edible schoolyard will not only teach children about healthy living, but will provide the opportunity to bring the 4Cs of 21st century learning—critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication to life through hands-on learning.

Tripp Perkins, owner of Artisan Catering Company, recently partnered with the school to create a nutritious food program. Perkins attended culinary school at The Culinary Institute of America in New York. Perkins advocates growing your own food, buying local and “from scratch” food preparation. In addition to preparing daily lunches for students, Perkins will help implement a composting program and will assist in the planning of the school’s new culinary program, kitchen and edible school garden, which will be a part of Discovery Day Academy’s new 21st century campus, scheduled to begin construction this fall in Bonita Springs.

Phase I of the campus will include a 22,000-square-foot, two-story main building, which will include a modern-day kitchen that doubles as a culinary laboratory. Children will cultivate indoor vertical gardens and an outdoor edible schoolyard, allowing students to be involved from soil to plate.

“Through the edible schoolyard, we are not only encouraging the consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, but we are embracing a culture that includes the science behind food, growth of a garden, incorporating whole foods, the culinary arts and care for the environment through composting and reusing,” said Garcia. “We are out to make a change.”

Discovery Day Academy engages its students in meaningful learning through The Discovery Method, a project-based learning model developed by Garcia. The Discovery Method focuses on deep learning, authentic experiences and 21st century outcomes. Discovery Day Academy was founded in 2006 as an independent school and has since grown to include three campuses. A 21st century primary school, inclusive of children through 5th grade will open in fall 2015. Future growth through 8th grade is planned. For more information, visit

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