SHFT Initiatives

SHFT Initiatives

Thu 12 Apr 2012

Story by Cerise Mayo

SHFT Initiatives is a new non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and support community-based efforts that promote sustainability and health independence.

SHFT Initiatives will pilot two programs in New York City in 2012: a school garden at Bard High School Early College in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and a Mobile Kitchen Classroom that will work with public schools in every borough, engaging students in lessons around health, nutrition and sustainability.

School Garden

The school garden at Bard High School Early College is a beautiful and engaging space where students can learn how to grow vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. These hands-on lessons are linked to curriculum at both high school and college levels, providing students with an integrated and enriching experience inside and outside the classroom.

Students who participate in the program will be involved in all aspects of designing and farming the garden as well as preparing meals, and will learn how to relate their own observations and experiences to broader issues concerning a sustainable and just food system.

Finally, with its emphasis on sustainable materials, affordability, and ease of construction, the garden at Bard High School Early College will serve as a model for other public schools, in New York City and beyond.

The Mobile Kitchen Classroom

The mission of the Mobile Kitchen Classroom is to create an inspiring space where kids, parents, and members of the community can learn about food, nutrition, and cooking. These lessons will be linked to the schools’ wider curricula, thus impacting the broader culture and food program.

The Mobile Kitchen Classroom is a fully-equipped, professional teaching kitchen that provides children throughout New York City with the opportunity to prepare and eat healthy, delicious meals in a safe and inspiring setting. Built into the body of a customized truck, the Mobile Kitchen Classroom addresses the space limitations faced by many New York City public schools, and ensures that students of all ages can learn about food, nutrition, and cooking. The mission of the Mobile Kitchen Classroom is to teach essential life skills, while encouraging participants to consider how their food choices relate to broader issues of personal, social, and environmental health.

For more information, visit

SHFT Initiatives

SHFT Initiatives is a partner of SHFT, a multi-media platform co-founded by actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier in December 2009 with a mission to convey a more sustainable approach to the way we live through video, design, art and culture. For more information about SHFT, please visit

About the author: Cerise Mayo is the Executive Director of SHFT Initiatives, based in New York City. She has worked for the past decade as a leader in education, advocacy and business development in the sustainable food and agriculture arena. She was the founder of Slow Food in Schools, a nationwide garden-to-table program that provided resources, grants, and expertise to school garden and farm-to-cafeteria initiatives. In 2011, Cerise founded Nutshell Projects, a small farm and food consultancy.


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