Program for teens combines lessons in local agriculture and cooking

A cooking/agriculture class… for middle schoolers! Today on Indy Style, we get “schooled” by Chris Larson, Director of Environmental Education, Paramount School of Excellence, along with students Alexis Wilson and Noah Light, about the STEAM (Success Through Education, Agriculture and Mentoring) program, where student farmers grow and run a summer market on the city’s east side.

In the class, they learn more about the world around them through the school farm; care-taking the animals, tending the garden and learning about team-work and financial responsibility! Paramount is a K-8 Mayor’s authorized charter school with the mission to inspire learning through an unparalleled academic approach and to transform communities by changing lives. At PSOE teaching students to garden is teaching them about how life works. The food from the recipes they are making all come from their gardens.

An integral component of the Environmental Education curriculum is the Paramount School Farm. The farm provides hands-on and visual learning for students and is an important tool for teachers. Whether through gardening or through interacting with chickens, students can see their classroom lessons played out in real life. Students have the opportunity to partake in the various programs offered on our school farm.

Dairy Program
Student participants may have the opportunity to care for the dairy goats on Paramount’s farm. The importance of responsibility is learned through milking the goats on a daily basis and tending to their everyday needs. The milk from the goats is used for on-site cheese making! Students gain a sense of accountability and earn a respect for nature and animals.

The cheese is available for purchase at R2GO,, Goose the Market, and Ash & Elm Cider,

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Recipe #1: Warm-kale Salad with Goat Cheese
· 3 tablespoons olive oil
· 2 cloves of garlic, minced
· ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 3 teaspoons cane sugar
· 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
· 1 bunch kale (about 8 loose cups chopped)
· ¼ cup pine nuts
· 3 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
– Heat olive oil in a small-medium fry pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the onions, salt, and sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are softened.
– Transfer to a blender, pour in the balsamic, and blend until smooth.
– Pour the dressing over the kale and massage thoroughly with your hands.
– Toss with pine nuts and goat cheese. May be served warm right away, or cold for leftovers.


Recipe #2: Veggie Ricotta Frittata
· 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided (3 & 1)
· 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
· 3 cloves of garlic
· 1 bunch kale, chopped to desired size
· ½ teaspoon pepper
· ½ teaspoon salt
· ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
· ½ cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
· 10 large eggs, lightly beaten
· 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
· whole basil leaves for garnish
– Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 375oF
– In large oven-proof nonstick skillet, or cast iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are just beginning to soften, 4 minutes. Add kale and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes. Stir in ½ teaspoon black pepper, and remaining tablespoon of oil. Remove from heat.
– You may add the tomatoes at the end of the last step above, or wait and set them on top of the egg mixture for a different look and texture.
• Whisk ½ teaspoon salt and basil into eggs and pour into pan without stirring. Place dollops of ricotta into pan. Bake until eggs are just set, about 20 minutes. Let rest briefly before cutting and serving.

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