In August 2017, GrowGood and The Salvation Army partnered to launch a culinary program to provide culinary education, workplace training, and job placement to residents living at the Shelter.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10% growth in food and beverage service jobs through 2024, creating opportunities for shelter residents to move toward independence and dignity.
The 12-week course designed by GrowGood farmhand and chef - Eric Tomassini - gives students a complete seed-to-table view of food and cooking. Students enter the job market uniquely experienced in the process from preparing beds and planting seeds, to plating a finished dish for service to a diner, in addition to standard kitchen skills and required safety certifications.
Chef April Ventura primarily teaches the classes, which are held Monday - Thursday with approximately 8 hrs per day of classroom instruction.
The classes are held in the Shelter’s kitchen as well as at the farm. The culinary students utilize produce grown at the farm in meals served to shelter residents. The Shelter's kitchen serves approximately 6,000 meals per week.
"GrowGood. Cultivates Mother Earth. Nurtures people. Enhances
I landed a great job thanks to the GrowGood Culinary Academy! Special thanks to Eric and April!" -Carl M.
We are especially thankful for the support of our great friends at The Cheesecake Factory who have donated equipment, cook books, spices, and chefs uniforms for our students! Their support has been instrumental to the success of the program!