INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis-based Patachou Foundation is launching a new venture targeting at-risk high school students. The foundation is working with Indianapolis Public Schools to create a food fellowship for students interested in the restaurant and hospitality industries. The fellowship will be located within the foundation's new dedicated kitchen space on the city's north side, which will also have an attached coffee shop called Foundation Coffee Co.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Patachou Foundation Executive Director Matthew Feltrop described how the fellowship will work.

"Students will come into this space; they will be able to get experience for a paid position in the Foundation Coffee Co. learning hospitality skills," said Feltrop. "But a part of this food fellowship will also include working in the kitchen, understanding basic cooking skills, and actually also working on our microfarm in Broad Ripple. So they'll get the full 360 picture of the food system and business opportunities and life skills for themselves to take away from the fellowship."

The foundation works with eight partner schools to provide after-school meals to food insecure children and teach them about the food they're eating to help them make healthy food choices. The new dedicated kitchen space is currently being used to produce the after-school meals.

Feltrop says, in addition to the meals, the foundation has created a hands-on cooking education class for young students in elementary and middle schools. He says the food fellowship helps fill a gap between middle school and high school graduation.

"Really, what it is is a lack of food literacy and that kind of training requires one-on-one, really intensive work with individuals to learn how to cook for themselves and for their families. Seeing our growth in not just the number of meals, but also the impact we're having on lives, we knew that we needed to be able to bring kids in and teach them on an intimate basis and that's what we're going to do here with the new kitchen headquarters."

Feltrop says the Foundation Coffee Co. will come online within the next two months. The alpha test of the food fellowship program will begin in the summer of 2020.