December 11, 2018
OSO Good Food Truck awarded the 2018 Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Year from the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce awarded the Bowie High School Oso Good Food Truck the 2018 Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Year. The Food Truck is a program of the Bowie Jardin, Cocina & Mercado Fund established at the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

“We are very proud of our program. This has become a student driven project that started with some ideas and has rapidly expanded to a food trailer and now to a Culinary Program at Bowie High School,” said Principal Francisco Ordaz.

The Oso Good Food Truck is operated by Chef Christopher Puga and the students enrolled the Bowie Culinary Program. Currently, 154 students participate in the program. The award was presented to the students and teachers of the Bowie Culinary Program at the Hispanic Chamber’s annual, “General Membership Mercado.”

The initial goal for the Bowie Jardin, Cocina & Mercado program was to educate and create awareness regarding healthy eating and healthy living for students and their families.  Because the community has a prevalence of obesity amongst children as well as a high incidence of diabetes, the administrators at Bowie High School envisioned a garden and educational program that would help teach students how to prepare healthy, traditional foods as a means of addressing these health concerns.

With the help of former State Senator Eliot Shapleigh, the garden came to fruition and was designed so that the students would take responsibility for planning, planting, weeding and harvesting each individual plot followed by picking, processing, marketing and selling the produce.  In 2017, through the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, the project raised $54,000 from companies, individuals and grants to purchase a food truck to expand the garden’s reach and to support the academic goals of the multi-faceted curriculum.  Revenues generated from sales from the food truck are earmarked to fund the project and scholarships for graduating seniors.

“The food truck is one element of a larger program that involves a state of the art, drip irrigated organic garden and a culinary academy. Bowie is now the top school in Texas for farm to table programs. We expect students to gravitate to Bowie from around EPISD if they want a future in the culinary arts,” explained former State Senator Eliot Shapleigh.

In its first year of operation, the Oso Good Food Truck has proved to be a great success in providing healthy food choices at Bowie High School sporting and other events as well as providing professional catering for hire. Proceeds from sales fund scholarships for graduating seniors. “Our students work day and night on creating a meal that will make you remember it for a lifetime. We always welcome others to join in and learn how to become great leaders, community members and chefs.”

 Currently, the program has three major components: 

  • El Jardin (garden) consists of 20 raised beds that are used to grow produce and are surrounded by pomegranate and fig trees.
  • La Cocina (kitchen) focuses on integrating healthy food tastings into classrooms and employs a food truck for sale of healthy food.
  • El Mercado (market) promotes the sale of produce to the community at farmer’s markets and supplies some grocery stores.

To donate to this fund or to learn more about the Bowie Jardin & Oso Good Food Truck, click here.