Program Focus Statement

The purpose of the Orange Home Grown Youth Food Literacy Program sponsored by the Picerne Family Foundation is to foster a healthier, more sustainable food system and to pass these values on to the next generation. We want to change how people measure the value of food and the impacts it has on our environment and our health. Local farmers focused on conserving natural resources and biodiversity, and local chefs who demand flavorful ingredients grown in healthy nutrient-rich soil are just some of the ways we can work to preserve our local food system.

This youth program is geared towards providing hands on learning opportunities for OUSD high school students to engage in the entire food production cycle, and to give them the tools to make powerful choices related to food and their health. Guest speakers include local chefs, farmers, certified dietitians, catering directors, non-profit executive directors, food science professors, and more. From seed awareness and crop diversity, to digging in the dirt, interaction with local farmers and chefs, an introductory culinary class at Culinary Lab Cooking School, and a day spent at Chapman University with their Food Science department, this program will provide a balanced look at all aspects of our food system.

“It’s all opaque. You go to the grocery store and the meat doesn’t even have bones anymore. It’s just shrink-wrapped protoplasm, and kids don’t even know that it comes from an animal and that the animal had to be killed in order to put it on your plate,” quoted from Michael Pollan.

This program will help to supplement the culinary and environmental programming available through OUSD at the high school level. Completion of the program will enhance resumes for students looking to attend higher education focusing on the culinary arts, food management, sustainability and agriculture. Scholarship opportunities that are part of this program will help support fees associated with higher education tuition demands. This program will be open to Orange High School and El Modena High School level students. Curriculum focus examples include but are not limited to:

• How to select ingredients grown locally, picked at their peak ripeness and flavor that reduce impacts on the environment (reduce travel, food miles & carbon footprint)

• Supporting small family farmers that pay fair wages to their employees and support regenerative farming practices

• Creating healthy relationships with our food “closed loop system”

• Understanding how to read food labels and how these ingredients affect our body

• Seeing first-hand a successful approach to running a food-based business




  • 12-month certificate program for OUSD high school (total of 11 classes and 1 graduation event/ceremony)
  • Program geared towards Orange High School and El Modena High School students
  • 15 students for first year (with yearly program growth anticipated)
  • Course completion certificate provided by OHG at end-of-year program celebration
  • Program calendar with class dates/times/location provided to each student upon acceptance into program
  • Course completion certificate provided by OHG at end-of-year program celebration
  • All students that complete the program are eligible for scholarship award(s)
  • • Scholarship recipient(s) selected by OHG Board and Picerne Family Foundation representative
  • • Scholarship(s) awarded at end of year program celebration

PDF application, tentative schedule & waiver

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