As soon as the construction dust settled this spring on the Angel Charity for Children Culinary Education Center, produce was harvested from the fields outside the center’s doors, and savory smells from the cooking veggies filled the center’s rooms
In 2018, Angel Charity for Children selected Tucson Village Farm (TVF) to receive a $445,000 grant to help build its capacity for teaching area youth how to prepare healthy meals and snacks with the produce grown through TVF’s outreach programs.
Headquartered near the southeast corner of Campbell Avenue and River Road, TVF is a Pima County Cooperative Extension program under the University of Arizona’s Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension. Through TVF, local children and families learn healthy living habits that can help prevent nutrition-related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Carla Keegan, Angel Charity 2018 general chair, said TVF “knocked it out of the ballpark” with their grant application and presentation.
“We got behind the idea that kids need proper nutrition. So many things are connected to having access to nutritious meals, like being able to focus and do well in school,” Keegan said. “Children need to learn to prepare healthy meals and snacks for themselves, instead of just sticking something in the microwave. Building the Culinary Center would allow the farm programming to truly carry out its seed-to-table mission.” Ethan Orr, interim director of Pima County Cooperative Extension, said it was an honor for Angel Charity to pick TVF for their premier annual award.
“We’re grateful to be part of their legacy of commitment to our community,” Orr said.
The Angel Charity Culinary Education for Children Center spans nearly 3,600 square feet, featuring a state-of-the-art teaching classroom, workspaces for TVF’s staff and volunteers, outdoor spaces for education programs, and room to grow. In addition to the Angels’ investment to construct the center, a family with Arizona ties fully funded the commercial kitchen equipment in memory of Theodor and Margaret Troller.
Susan Kentosh, TVF’s advisory board chair, said Angel Charity for Children’s gift was a game-changer.
“This gift greatly accelerates our ability to further our mission of reconnecting young people to a healthy food system, teaching them how to grow and prepare fresh food, and empowering them to make healthy life choices,” Susan said. “We are so grateful for their support.”
TVF Fast Facts
Thousands of schoolchildren, from preschool to high school, visit TVF each year.
In 2019, TVF reached 11,053 youth and 3,977 adults and delivered 62,117 hours of educational programming.
- TVF hosts events for the whole community, including weekly u-pick markets, where visitors can harvest their own affordable, locally grown vegetables, and larger gatherings like the annual Harvest Festival and Holiday Market.
Story by Kim Stoll