December 6, 2013

Mayor Emanuel and the Kitchen Community Announce the Installation of the 100th Learning Garden at a Chicago Public School

In 18 months, the City, CPS, and the Kitchen Community Achieved its Goal of Installing 100 Learning Gardens Across the City to Provide Students with Hands-On Nutrition and Science Education Opportunities

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Emanuel joins CPS students at the installation of the 100th learning garden

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Kitchen Community today gathered together with students, teachers, parents, and community volunteers at Peirce Elementary School to celebrate achieving the goal of the 100th Learning Garden at a Chicago Public School (CPS).  Since the start of the initiative in 2012, Learning Gardens are now featured in 100 schools, providing over 50,000 children across Chicago every school day hands-on nutrition and science education opportunities.

“Learning Gardens in our schools serve as catalysts for community-wide improvements in childhood nutrition, socialization, and student achievement,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Having accomplished our ambitious goal to plant 100 Learning Gardens in schools across Chicago is a remarkable testament to the strength and desire of our community to increase access to fresh produce and instill the value of eating healthy at an early age."

Last December, Mayor Emanuel announced a $1 million investment in Learning Gardens through the use of NATO Legacy Funds. Through this commitment, the city partnered with the Kitchen Community to infuse healthy habits, reverse trends in childhood obesity and diabetes, improve academic performance, and strengthen communities.  The Mayor’s decision to invest these funds in neighborhood projects throughout the city serves as a direct benefit to CPS students.

"Planting Learning Gardens in 100 schools will positively impact over 50,000 students in Chicago. That is just incredible," said Kimbal Musk, chef, entrepreneur and co-founder of the Kitchen Community. "Scientific research shows that students involved in a garden-based nutrition education program not only doubled their fruit and vegetable consumption but they scored higher on science tests. Being able to scale garden-based nutrition education in Chicago through Learning Gardens will make a true impact toward reversing childhood obesity." 

The City of Chicago will continue to work with the Kitchen Community and donor organizations to plant Learning Gardens in 30-40 more schools across Chicago in 2014.

Chicago's investments in other outdoor, interactive learning opportunities for children include:

-Every child in Chicago having a quality park or playground within a seven-minute walk of his or her home within the next five years.

-Rebuilding 300 playgrounds across Chicago over the next five years, ensuring that these playgrounds offer meaningful play opportunities by providing new physically challenging and adventurous playground equipment.

-In partnership with Take the Field and Slam Dunk, Chicago will have rebuilt 100 basketball courts, as well as 47 artificial turf fields in different neighborhoods, by the end of 2013.

-Through Chicago Summer of Learning, nearly 230,000 summer learning opportunities and youth jobs were available to Chicago's young people across 100+ organizations. Many of these learning opportunities integrated outdoor activities and playful learning activities, including exploring STEM learning at park district programs, healthy cooking activities with Common Threads, and creating artifacts using 3D printers.


Andrew Jackson Language Academy; Augustus H Burley Elementary School; Bass Elementary School; Beasley Elementary School; Beethoven Elementary School; Benito Juarez Community; Academy; Burnham Elementary School; Burroughs School; Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language; Carl Von Linné Elementary School; Carter G Woodson Univ of Chicago Charter Middle School; Chavez Elementary Multicultural Academy; Clinton Elementary School; Columbia Explorers Academy; Community Christian Alternative School; Courtenay Elementary School; Cullen School; Dawes Elementary School; Dett Elementary School; Disney II Elementary Magnet School; Donald L. Morrill Math & Science School; Douglas Taylor Elementary School; Drake Elementary School; Dulles School of Excellence; Earle Elementary School; Edwards Elementary School; Ellington Elementary School; Esmond Elementary School; Faraday Elementary School; Farragut Career Academy; Fenger High School; Fort Dearborn Elementary School; Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Elementary School; Garvey Elementary School; Gary Comer Youth Center; George B. Armstrong International Studies Elementary School; George W Tilton Public School; Gillespie Elementary School; Greene Elementary School; Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy; Hamilton Elementary School; Harte Elementary School; Harvard Elementary School; Haugan Elementary School; Hearst Elementary School; Hefferan Elementary School; Ida Wells Elementary School; Jesse Sherwood Elementary School; John M Palmer Elementary School; John Marshall Metropolitan High School; John Milton Gregory Math & Science Academy; Jonathan Burr Elementary School; Jose De Diego Community Academy; Kilmer Elementary School; Langston Hughes Elementary School; Laura S Ward Elementary School; Lavizzo Elementary School; Lee Elementary School; Legal Prep; Lindblom Math & Science Academy; Lionel Hampton Elementary School; Lyman A. Budlong Elementary School; Madero Middle School; Mahalia Jackson Elementary School; Mark T. Skinner West Elementary School; McAuliffe Elementary School; McCutcheon Elementary School; Melody Elementary School; Michael M. Byrne Elementary School; Mount Vernon Elementary School; Nicholson Technology Academy; O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy; Oscar DePriest Elementary School; Otis Elementary School; Paul Laurence Dunbar Career Academy High School; Peck Elementary School; Peirce Elementary International Studies School; Pershing East Elementary School; Plamondon Elementary School; Pulaski International School of Chicago; Robert L Grimes School; Rogers Elementary School; Ruiz Elementary School; Samuel Gompers School; Simeon Career; Academy; Sir Miles Davis Academy; Skinner North Classical School; South Shore Fine Arts Academy; Southside Occupational Academy High School; Spencer Elementary Technology Academy; Sumner Math & Science Community Academy; Taft High School; Theodore Roosevelt High School; Thomas Early Childhood Center; Walt Disney Magnet School; Wentworth Elementary School; West Suburban Montessori School; Westcott Elementary School; Willa Cather Elementary School; William Ray Elementary School


Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel joins CPS students at the installation of the 100th learning garden

Photo Credit: Patrick Pyszka // City of Chicago





The Kitchen Community was established in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of the Kitchen family of restaurants to connect kids to real food by creating Learning Gardens in schools and community organizations across America. Learning Gardens are hands-on learning environments and experiential play-spaces with vegetables that help reverse trends in childhood obesity, improve academic performance, and strengthen communities. 

Learning Gardens are catalysts for community-wide behavioral improvements in childhood nutrition, socialization, and student achievement in underserved neighborhoods across the country. They are designed to be a place in which kids want to learn and teachers want to teach, thereby creating a long-term, positive investment for the school and the community. For more information, visit


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