Hi, we're Akasa.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides a diversified wellness curriculum in partnership with public schools in low-income communities throughout Los Angeles. Students and families learn about the process of growing, harvesting, sourcing and cooking food and examine their own neighborhood food system to make informed choices about their overall health + wellness.


Founded by Ashleigh J Parsons, Harvard University, EdM, in 2012, in collaboration with a community of likeminded chefs, farmers, artists and activists, Akasa is a response to the lack of healthy food opportunities that exist for low-income youth living in food deserts in Los Angeles. Akasa administers an intensive, weekly wellness curriculum that uses cooking, gardening and mindfulness to reconnect students with their bodies. Akasa currently provides the curriculum to 200 low-income students ages 6-18 on a weekly basis, reaching over 7,000 students on a yearly basis. The team is made up of an exceptional community of urban agriculturists, chefs and educators who instruct the weekly curriculum.





Simple, Accessible, Nourishing Cooking Classes

Gardening Curriculum covering raised beds and hydroponic towers

Urban Agriculture

Environmental Justice 

Mindfulness Curriculum

Wellness Curriculum

Parent Workshops

Teacher Workshops

Professional Development Classes 

Nutritional Workshops





Akasa reaches 200 students on a weekly basis. Additionally, Akasa provides monthly parent workshops, which average 25-30 parents who are eager to learn about healthy and simple recipes that can easily be replicated at home. Akasa is a needs-based community based program, which targets students ages 5 to 18. We provide a framework in which students, families and their communities can thrive through a holistic lifestyle. Within this framework, the program focuses on four principle areas that encompass overall wellness:

  • Emphasize the importance of nutrition and model cooking techniques, empowering students to leave the program with a clear understanding of how to prepare a nourishing and fulfilling meal.

  • Teach the principles of sustainability, seasonality and environmental justice by building school gardens with hydroponics and raised beds, utilizing the garden for recipe development and providing recipes that are seasonal, healthy and delicious.

  • Facilitate nutritional education through the lens of diabetes prevention.

  • Lay a foundation for understanding the connection between mind and body, especially how nutrition can impact physical, mental, and emotional well-being.


Built on the foundation of community building, our top strategic priorities are to utilize needs-based assessment, continue a strong foundational relationship with each school partnership and ultimately create a community based program that is directly impacting the students, their families and the culture of the school and community.


Akasa Boardmembers

Ashleigh Parsons

Chelsea Lucktenberg

Courtney Guerra

Jaime Garcia

John L Parsons, Jr

Audrey Tyau

Cissy Huang

Vivian Ho


Akasa Ambassadors + Sponsors 

We are a privately funded organization and we could not do the work
that we do without the support from the community.
A very special Thank You to our generous Sponsors and Partners. 


3.1 Phillip Lim  |  Visionary Women LA  |  Manufactory Coffee  |  World Centric  Eightfold Coffee  |  Aesop  |  Equinox  |  Shelter Social Club  |  Bembien    Loft+Bear  Yola Mezcal  |  Pansy  |  Nu Swim  |  Honey Hi  |  NOTO Botanics  |  Kids of Immigrants  |  Bekpro  |  Opening Ceremony  |  Botanica  |  Stephen Kenn |  Days LA  | Botanica | RTH

Jaime Garcia  |  Sylvia Chivaratanond  |  Courtney Guerra  |  Julie Simpson  |  Sonny Ruscha Granade  |  Jack Falahee  |  Marissa A Ross  |  Liz Goldwyn  |  Karen Kimmel  |  Amy Atwood  |  Sean Ryan Pierce  |  John + Aileen Parsons |   Jenny Le  |  Cissy Huang  |  Audrey Tyau  |  Emilien Crespo  |  Miye McCullough    Ryma Chikhoune  |  Zoe Lister-Jones  |  Steven Wu  |  Tim Wu  |  Chelsea Lucktenberg  |  Brittany Bush  |  Chelsea Hagler  |  Vivan Ho  |  Beks Opperman | Nora Beckman | Sarah Kim | By Way of Us