Area 31 Culinary Arts Program Uses WTEF Grant for Farm-to-Table Curriculum

In recent years, so-called “Farm-toTable” restaurants have become increasingly popular. These restaurants serve food that comes directly from a particular local farm or ranch – not from distributors or grocery stores.

Chef Daniel Schifano, who oversees the Area 31 Career Center’s Culinary Arts Program, thought it was time his students learned about this approach in a more hands-on manner. He called his idea the Patio Garden Project.

“This project allows us to expand the successful traditions of our program by giving students the tools they need to produce their own sustainable food sources,” said Chef Schifano. “They will be able to use these food sources for themselves and whatever future culinary endeavors they may take on.”

The Patio Garden Project required funding to establish a sustainable garden. With a grant from the Wayne Township Education Foundation, the project became a reality.

“The garden space was designed by the Area 31 Horticulture Science Program,” said Chef Schifano. “Student teams designed several different versions of this garden space and presented their ideas to us. We selected components of multiple proposals that we wanted to incorporate in our garden.”

The Patio Garden Project produced vegetables last spring (2022), which Culinary Arts Program students were able to incorporate into the food they prepared for their restaurant, called Harvest.

“Looking back at the project and grant I feel that it has just scratched the surface of being a success,” said Chef Schifano. “This was the first year we harvested from the garden – we had a bounty of peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and kale. The students were able to utilize this fresh grown produce in a variety of ways, from practicing knife cuts, to making fresh pico for the Harvest menu.”

Chef Schifano said he is looking forward to the coming spring, when his students will be involved for the first time in planting and maintaining the garden: “This will help them better understand the path that our food takes from seed to plate, and the amount of work that goes into a single tomato.”

For more information on Area 31 Career Center programs, please visit

The Wayne Township Education Foundation (WTEF) provides community leadership to enrich, engage, and stimulate teaching and learning in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. WTEF accomplishes this by supporting school programs and resources, while recognizing excellence among students and staff. To learn more about WTEF, call 317-988-7966, visit, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @WayneTwpEdFound.