Founded in 1996, Hayground is a diverse school on 13 acres of farmland in Bridgehampton, NY for children ages 3-14. Hayground believes all children can and should live a life of the mind, that social and environmental responsibility are fundamental educational initiatives, that art should be at the center rather than the periphery of life, and that food, the cultivation and preparation of it, is one of the best educational tools at our disposal. To this end, each day Hayground students not only prepare lunch for the entire school, but they also sow and harvest in the garden and greenhouses and use the kitchen as a gateway to learn many basic classroom concepts.
Every summer, world-renowned five-star chefs gather to celebrate the Hayground School, raising much-needed financial aid for the school and its Edible Garden/Kitchen Science program. Past honorees include Chef Claudia Fleming, Chef Tom Colicchio, documentary filmmaker of A Place at the Table Lori Silverbush, and Chef Eric Ripert.
The dinner is cooked and held in Jeff’s Kitchen, named in honor of Chef and original Hayground founder, Jeff Salaway. As a staunch believer that the growing, preparation and sharing of food is a primal human experience as well as the foundation of family and community, Salaway was planning the professional kitchen/classroom -- supported by a science lab, garden and greenhouse all on the grounds of the school -- just prior to his tragic death in 2001.
The inaugural Chefs Dinner in 2003 was organized to honor and memorialize Jeff’s legacy by his sister & event founder, Lizz Salaway. Since then, Jeff’s Kitchen has grown into a full-service professional-grade kitchen and classroom. Classes in nutrition, food science and cooking are held there for both children and adults. Completing the facility, a professional Farmtek greenhouse was recently erected by Hayground students, staff and friends with funds provided by Slow Food.
Over the past 15 years, the Hayground School has stood at the forefront of the Edible Schoolyard movement, and the faculty has helped mentor other schools in their endeavors to create edible school gardens. Community outreach and diversity are hallmarks of Hayground’s educational philosophy. The school itself was founded in 1996 with members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation along with local farming families and progressive educators.
With students ranging from 3-14 years of age, the Hayground School is an independent alternative school, committed to a program of innovation in a community of diversity, both economical and cultural. The mission at Hayground is to provide an open and community-focused academic environment where conventional educational methods are replaced by new ways of teaching and learning. The school works to give students the tools, perseverance and determination to be independent thinkers and continue learning throughout their lives.
Funds from the Hayground Chefs Dinner – to date, almost one million dollars -- support Hayground’s Jeff’s Kitchen culinary programs as well as its overall curriculum. This enables the school to be readily accessible to the diverse spectrum of East End children, where currently, over 80% of all Hayground students receive some form of financial assistance.
- Karine Bahkoum
- Josh Capon
- Emily Chu
- Leslie Close
- Tom Colicchio
- Kimberly Cooper
- Brian Halweil
- Tony Hitchcock
- Ron Kaplan
- Victoria Munroe
- Joseph Realmuto
- Susan Ringo
- Eric Ripert
- Sandra Ripert
- Clifford Ross
- Lori Silverbush
Chefs Dinner Committee
Toni Ross, Chair Emeritus, Almond Zigmund, Co-Chair , Elaine DiGiaccomo, Co-Chair
Perry Burns, Cindi Crain, Erica Lynn Huberty
Scott O'Neill, Christian Troy, Jamie Wilson, Craig Wood
Please visit Jeff’s Kitchen and the Hayground School to see what your generous support makes possible. Please visit us online at: www.hayground.org
Please Call 631-537-7068, to arrange a tour.
" I am, in fact, preparing to re-educate myself, to go back to school. Not the school to which I was “sent off” at five years of age, but a far brighter, more illuminating place. This time, with my children at my side, with friends and neighbors all around me, I will be learning things that no one cared to teach me last time around. Things like respect, not for facts, but for people and what they can teach you. Respect for oneself, one’s emotional, physical, spiritual and historic self. Respect for one’s capacity for learning and invention and creativity. Respect for all of the members of one’s community—not just the ones who look and sound like me. Together we will be learning how to teach and be taught, how to help and be helped, how to ask questions and find answers. You see, I am doing this for myself, to become a better person. This way, if my kids take after me or I take after them, well, we’ve got it covered either way. Will Hayground School change the world? I don’t know, but it will change mine. I’ll start with that. " Jeff Salaway, Hayground Parent & Founder