Celebrating its fifth year, the Edible School Yard New Orleans (ESY NOLA) and FirstLine schools are hosting the second annual Edible Evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 24 at ESY NOLA's flagship site, Samuel J. Green Charter School (2319 Valence St.).

  Founded in 2006, FirstLine schools have integrated the hands-on, organic garden into the classroom experience, involving students in all aspects of the garden, from planting seeds to cooking and enjoying the food grown there. The one-third-acre garden produces more than 3,000 pounds of produce each year, which is used not only in cooking classes in the edible kitchen but also is given to students' families to enjoy at home.

  "The students love [the garden]," says ESY NOLA's executive director Donna Cavato. "It gives them a sense of wonderment. They get to explore different kinds of vegetation and lifeforms they've never seen. It's very sensory and hands-on."

  While raising money for the garden, ESY NOLA hopes the event highlights the work accomplished not only at Green Charter School but in the surrounding Central City neighborhood. "We want to show the larger community what we've been able to do in the past five years," Cavato says.

  The party will feature live music, wine and cocktails, and seasonal dishes from Bacchanal, Broussard's Restaurant, Capdeville, Cochon, Commander's Palace, Domenica, Emeril's Restaurant, Oak and others. Tickets start at $45 and are available at www.esynola.org or by calling 267-9035. — Lucas