Courtesy photoChef Jeffrey Smith wants San Francisco students to not only eat healthy

Courtesy photoChef Jeffrey Smith wants San Francisco students to not only eat healthy

Chef wants SF students to not only eat healthy, but learn to cook as well

Healthy school food is a trendy cause in the Bay Area, but one chef is planning to take good nutrition a step further by having students learn to cook meals from scratch.

Jeffrey Smith, founder of the non-profit From the Garden to the Table, is working to raise $175,000 to build a solar-powered teaching kitchen at Everett Middle School, in the Mission.

“The people who are suffering most are low-income people,” said Smith, referring to rising rates of obesity, diabetes and other health problems across the United States. Everett serves many low-income, Latino students.

The middle school already has a garden, which was expanded this summer thanks to San Francisco Unified School District’s Green Schoolyard Program.

“Gardens are a wonderful thing for everyone,” said Everett Principal Richard Curci. “It’s nice to have things growing in a school setting. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to go out and pick a snap pea and eat it.”

If Smith has his way, those snap peas and other vegetables from Everett’s garden will be part of healthy but kid-friendly meals prepared by students in their new green kitchen. Smith, who has worked in four-star restaurants, often gives cooking and nutrition lessons at area schools, and he hopes to turn those lessons into a full-year program at Everett.

“I give them things they can relate to,”  Smith said. “Once they do it themselves, it’ll stick.”

From the Garden to the Table expects to raise some $7,000 this month from fundraisers it has held at top San Francisco restaurants. Delfina, in the Mission, will donate a portion of its proceeds Tuesday night. Smith is also accepting donations at g2t.org.

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

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