Food Innovation Center

Collaborating for a healthier, hunger-free world.

Chef Jim Warner Teaching Garden to Table Cooking Demos for Area Youth

Getting elementary school children to trade in their junk food for something nutritious like a kohlrabi fritter and a side of greens is a tough sell, but that’s exactly what they are doing through the Highland Youth Garden Chefs in the City outreach program. 

The project — a collaboration between the Wexner Medical Center, OSU Extension Franklin County’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Columbus Bilingual Academy, and Mid-Ohio Food Bank — was started by Peggy Murphy from Ohio State University Extension, who teamed up with neighborhood residents and Ohio Children’s Foundation in 2009 to start the garden for youth who had been displaced and had nowhere to go after two recreation centers closed on the Hilltop.

The program is based on the belief that teaching young people to grow their own food will increase the likelihood that they will eat more healthy fruits and vegetables.

Jim WarnerFIC member chef Jim Warner, program director in the nutrition services department at the Wexner Medical Center, is teaching cooking demos at Columbus Bilingual Academy. Warner takes the fruit, herbs and vegetables the children grow in the garden and turns them into tasty plant-based recipes. Parents are invited to attend along with their children.

Warner’s job takes him to all corners of the city to teach groups about nutrition and plant-based food. No matter what neighborhood he teaches in, the issue is the same: people are not familiar with growing their own food, and even less familiar with cooking it.

To learn more about the program, click here

For more about the Highland Youth Garden on YouTube, visit