Food Exploration and Discovery (DBA: Food ED) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization collaborating with communities and schools to construct and sustain edible education sites hosting programs on ecosystem stewardship, healthy living, and environmental innovation and entrepreneurship.
Our mission is to create programs that utilize gardens to inspire community building, problem solving, and stewardship rather than just growing food. We reimagine school and community gardens alongside our partners. We want to integrate holistic learning and STEAM education as well as innovative entrepreneurship programs in a dynamic way across K-12 education. We desire to incorporate the community-at-large into the work by opening the gardens to families and community members to learn about environmental stewardship, eco-justice, and healthy living practices through gardening, nature, and cooking workshops.
Where we work
We currently partner with cities and schools in the San Gabriel Valley as we continue to grow sustainably. Our current work is focused on Plymouth Elementary, Bradoaks Elementary, Monroe Elementary, and Sante Fe Middle School all in Monrovia, California. We also have a number of cities we are collaborating with for future programs.
Meet The Team
Kristin Ritzau, PhD
Founder & Executive Director
Twelve years ago, Kristin started gardening at her home in Monrovia and it changed her family's life. She helped found the Monrovia Community Garden and most recently was the Director of Sustainable Edible Education at California Lutheran University. She has degrees in Leadership Studies and completed her PhD in Religion, Education, and Ecology where she studied female farmers around the U.S. Having spoke and presented her research at national conferences and taught for ten years, she now finds herself partnering in her local community to bring together neighbors to collaborate and innovate in exciting ways. When not gardening, you can find her playing board games with her two kids, traveling with her husband, or enjoying cooking something new. Her kids' future fuels her passion for interdisciplinary action-driven education that inspires students and communities to live more connected to their neighbors and ecosystems.
& Program Director
Gio wears many hats as our main Garden Educator and championing community science education. He is a Master Gardener, Master Herpetologist, California Rare Fruit Tree member, certified California Naturalist, Certified Climate Steward, and is on the leadership team for Monrovia Community Garden. Most recently, he was the Education and Outreach Director for a Gardenview Landscape Company. He specializes in designing creative curriculum that meets NGSS standards and educating all ages about soil and plants. He has lived in Monrovia for his entire life and attended Wildrose, Clifton, and Monrovia High School. His studies include published work on representations of animals throughout history and his Master of Library and Information Science degree focused on botanical libraries. An avid gardener and community scientist, he and his wife are constantly experimenting with sub-tropical trees, trying new heirloom varieties, and working to identify microbial life in their soil when not taking his pup Charlotte out to explore.
Board of Directors
Retired Deputy Director of Nutrition Services, WIC
Founder & Executive Director,
Coffee on Leadership