12th Grade Special Education Horticulture Teacher in Chicago, IL – Southside Occupational Academy High School
2023-24 Fellow: Tinesha Wilkerson is a Special Education teacher at Southside Occupational Academy High School in Chicago. She has been teaching for 20 years, and is excited to begin her third year as a horticulture teacher. In the past years at Southside, Tinesha taught Vocational and Health classes which were great, but she absolutely loves growing food!
Tinesha and her son David replaced her front lawn with a garden where she grows native plants, flowers, fruit trees and bushes, and a host of edible plants. She practices living a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, a variety of exercise, being kind, and making sure that she takes time for herself. Tinesha loves to dance, take walks, travel, and try new vegan recipes and restaurants. She also runs and enjoys taking and teaching fitness classes.
Favorite Food Education Standard: FES #2: Foods have Sources and Origins.
FES #2 resonates the most with me because I love to garden, share what I know, and learn more about growing food. I enjoy sharing with others the beauty of watching plants grow, especially from garden to table.
A Favorite Food Memory or Recipe:
My family often gathers around food. Some of my favorite memories are of large meals with many family members and friends. Food would cover every inch of the table and I would want a taste of it all. Funny thing is, I never really liked macaroni and cheese until I started eating a vegan diet. I am happy that my family is beginning to have plant based options at family functions.
Why I Became a Fellow:
My colleague Regina Hawkins told me about how great the program is, so I’m excited to learn and share with my students.