GastroJax is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to foster and preserve local cuisine, educating the public about local food and beverage sources, local restaurants and North Florida dishes. The cultural significance of what we eat, food history, eating healthy, different foodways, how to cook (using math, science and art), and where our food comes from are all things we want to educate the public about, whether in our schools or in the community. We promote healthier eating by highlighting local foods and by expanding palates in kids and adults, so that we can all can learn to eat “beyond the chicken nugget.”
Since its formation in April 2014, GastroJax has been educating the public about First Coast food sources mainly through outreach, as we did during One Spark, EnviroFest, the Green Social and other cultural venues, including GastroFest.
EnviroFest (August 9, 2014) was a free-to-the-public festival hosted by the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. This family-friendly festival proved to be a terrific venue for GastroJax to raise awareness about our local foodshed, in particular, bees. We partnered with the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association for our display. JBA showed children and adults their bees under glass, while GastroJax board members gave out free samples of local honey from different sources and explained about the local fruits and vegetables made possible through the work of bees.
GastroJax teamed up with the Art Institute of Jacksonville’s Culinary division, (August 10, 2015) bringing experienced chefs to the teen mothers in care of the Children’s Home Society of Florida. The girls learned to make a hearty Italian pasta sauce, one of the five Mother Sauces. Chef Noel Ridsdale from the Art Institute of Jacksonville provided a cooking lesson for the girls. Each student will receive a set of culinary tools from GastroJax so they can continue their culinary education.