Farm to Table Dinner on April 4th Will Benefit Culinary Arts at GHS


Gifft Hill School students Elana Glen and Lena Crum hard at work preparing pastries.

What started as a way to engage students in growing local foods has grown into a series of delicious multi-course events! The next event will be on Friday, April 4, and will benefit the school’s Farm to Table and Culinary Arts programs.

The EARTH (Education And Resiliency Through Horticulture) Program, in coordination with Iowa State University, began four years ago by growing plants on the patio of Gifft Hill School’s Upper Campus. It has now expanded to three garden areas at the Upper Campus, a children’s garden at the Lower Campus and a banana grove.

The purpose is to expose students of Gifft Hill School to eat healthy and delicious meals. It has taken many years of planning and numerous donations to be on the verge of opening the first Farm to Cafeteria in the territory.

The students participating in a semester long Farm to Table class have not only participated in the planting, tending and harvesting of the fruits and vegetables with Dr. Dave Minner, they also learned how to cook local foods with Chef LaShanda Francis.

 “The reason I joined this class is that I wanted to learn about how to plant and grow foods,” said student Tevin Williams. “But when we got into the kitchen I got excited about cooking too.”

“The most challenging thing about this class is to be a part of a catering event,” said another student Stephanie Kemp. “It was more stressful than I thought. The basics of cooking are good to learn for my future, because in college my mom is not going to be there to cook for me!”

The upcoming April 4 dinner will feature a student-created menu under the tutelage of guest Chef Mathayom Vacherat of St. John Catering.

Student JoAnne Attika, says that before this class she didn’t cook but now experiments at home: “I learned about new vegetables, cooking things I had never seen before. I am excited to see what the people think about the food we create.”

“I like food,” says fellow student Kaitlyn Cummings. “I think it is cool how you can take something you grew yourself and make something delicious!”

There are a few seats left for this unique culinary experience. You can email for more information regarding pricing and reservations.