our story

Founded in 2010, Green Plate Special’s mission is to inspire and empower youth through growing, cooking, and sharing food. 

We engage 4th-8th grade youth (ages 9 – 14) through after-school and in-school programs, spring break and summer camps, and evening cooking classes. Programs are curriculum-based with a progression from basic food knowledge to advanced gardening and cooking skills. We also enhance learning opportunities by interweaving food growing and cooking with academic subjects such as math, science, and history. For example, youth may practice baking skills while learning about the science of liquids and solids. A snack and/or lunch are provided during programming and students often are able to take home a sample of what they cooked, as well as vegetables from the garden.

We often work closely with partner organizations and customize programs to fit the needs of our partners. Some of our current partners include Madrona K-8, Washington Middle School, Atlantic Street Center, Mary’s Place, Friends of the Children, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, Beacon Hill International, and many others.


Our founder

In 2011, Laura founded Green Plate Special with its mission to inspire and empower youth to experience food in new ways through growing, cooking and eating together.

Laura has been an active member of the culinary world since 1983. With a BA in Child Psychology from the University of Oregon, Laura went on instead to culinary school at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She has worked in and owned multiple restaurants in Seattle and San Francisco, including Pirosmani Restaurant in Seattle.

Eventually Laura’s passion for cooking and sharing food with others expanded beyond restaurants, and lead her to teach cooking to adults and children, publically and privately. Through her time as a culinary consultant, private chef placement coordinator and five years of work with the Wood Stone Corporation (manufacturers of wood and gas fired stone hearth ovens), Laura began to envision her true calling; to establish a nonprofit for middle school youth…..

Her vision of equity and social justice around food and health, was leveraged by her joy of cooking, teaching young people, and an interest (but no real skill) in growing food. Laura had the audacious belief that healthy food for everyone was absolutely necessary for all people in our communities and our country to flourish (not a NEW concept). This would be carried out by youth of middle school age (9-14), whose interest and enthusiasm for these basic life skills would be piqued by their love of eating, and the opportunity to stretch their boundaries with elastic and open minds. Green Plate Special was born from this vision.

Videos Featuring

Green Plate Special

"10 Years of Green Plate Special" To commemorate 10 years of inspiring and empowering youth through growing, cooking, and sharing food we commissioned Seago Media to create this video that dives into our history and youth programs, past and present. We hope it gives you a glimpse into the magic of our garden and kitchen, and the care we put into what we do. We are honored to have taught, learned from, and enjoyed food with the young folks in our community for 10 years, and will continue to serve them for many more. 


"CRASH DOCUMENTARY: Green Plate Special" by SIFF (in collaboration with LANGSTON) Crash Documentary Students: This video holds a special place in our heart because it was made in part by GPS alumni and youth extraordinaire Téa.  This video also prominently features our education director, Maia Bernstein, and board president, Gloria Fortune.


"Foodie Empire Honoree: Green Plate Special" by Foodie Empire: The first professional video taken on Green Plate Special's permanent site at 2115 25th Ave S.

"Green Plate Special - Community Gardening In Seattle" by Seattle University's Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability: This beautiful video was created just months before we opened up our permanent location; you can see a few shots of it mid-construction at the end!


"Green Plate Special" by CityStream: This video captures a piece of Green Plate Special's second year! Shows off the interior of the Madrona church where we first held the cooking portion of our programs.


"Green Plate Special" by the 2011 RecTech Summer Interns: This little look at Green Plate Special was recorded when we were just 8 months old. Isn't that wild?


"Thank you! I had so much fun at Green Plate Special!

I'm always excited to make food with y'all!! I've learned so much! I hope I can come again very soon! I really enjoyed making food and feeding the chickens! I will miss GPS very much! I hope I can see y'all very very soon!"

— Emma, 6th grader at orca k-8 —

(206) 602-6845
2115 25th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144

On the corner of 25th Ave S and S. Walker, next to the 2100 Building

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© 2021 Green Plate Special