Nashville’s Only Four-Star Restaurant Concludes Year-Long Nutritional Program with Charter School

Capitol Grille helps LEAD Academy students leave footprint for the next seventh grade class

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 20, 2011 – The Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille, The Land Trust for Tennessee, and LEAD Academy Public Charter School of Nashville teamed up this past school year to attack childhood hunger and obesity through a nutritional education program.

The program combined hands-on gardening experience with classroom instruction to show students how to make the right choices in what they eat.  It began in September 2010 when The Land Trust for Tennessee invited the LEAD Academy seventh grade class to visit and tour the garden at Glen Leven, a 66-acre urban farmstead and home owned by The Land Trust located five miles from The Hermitage Hotel.  This property also houses a five-acre garden created, worked, and managed by the Capitol Grille and community volunteers. 

“Using the garden at Glen Leven as a backdrop for learning was a natural fit.  Not only do the students learn from what we share with them but they also have a chance to experience a bit of nature right in the middle of the city,” said Capitol Grille Executive Chef Tyler Brown.

From this initial visit, the relationship between the hotel, The Land Trust and charter school grew into a yearlong program about food and good nutrition that reinforces classroom lessons with experience in the Glen Leven garden.  After the students’ visit to the garden, Brown visited LEAD Academy every other month to discuss how his work relies on the student’s current curriculum.  For example, during his first visit to the school in November, Brown discussed how preparing meals uses the knowledge of ratios and proportions that the students were studying.  After each visit with the students, Brown prepared a nutritious lunch with vegetables from the Glen Leven garden.

On April 20, the class that started it all was scheduled to visit the garden one last time to leave their ‘footprints’ for the next seventh grade class.  However, due to bad weather, LEAD Academy brought the garden into the classroom.  Students planted new seeds—including sunflowers, lychins, poppy orientals, bee balms, cosmos, dwarf ten weeks and zinnias—that will be planted at the Hermitage Hotel’s period garden at the Glen Leven estate in seed feeders, and painted 30 harvest baskets for future gardeners to use.  The event concluded with lunch prepared by Chef Brown.

“This class helped the garden grow into a beautiful space that not only served as a starting point for their nutritional education program but preserved the precious land at the Glen Leven estate,” said Janet Kurtz, marketing and sales director of The Hermitage Hotel.  “We are grateful to share this historic site with LEAD Academy and look forward to sharing it with the next class.”

For more information about The Hermitage Hotel, visit

About The Hermitage Hotel and the Capitol Grille

Opened in 1910, The Hermitage Hotel has been woven into the history and memories of Nashville and her residents for over 100 years.  In keeping with a deep respect for Nashville and the state of Tennessee, The Hermitage Hotel is committed to preserving the region’s heritage by putting into practice the traditions that make hospitality synonymous with The South.  This commitment extends to protecting the state’s historic and scenic landscapes through a relationship with The Land Trust for Tennessee.  This relationship began in 2008 when a program was created in which guests may donate $2.00 for every night they stay in the hotel.   To date guests have donated over $150,000.  The relationship was furthered in 2010 when the Trust graciously allowed the Capitol Grille to create a substantial period garden using sustainable practices on the property at Glen Leven.   Glen Leven is an historic 66 acre farm located just 5 miles from The Hermitage Hotel and owned by the Land Trust for Tennessee.   The Hermitage Hotel is the only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond hotel in Tennessee and five contiguous states. 

The commitment to preservation continues in the hotel’s Capitol Grille and Oak Bar.  Relaxed, low key, and known as the place for Nashvillians “in the know”, the Capitol Grille is the best example of a regionally inspired southern steakhouse in Nashville.  Chef Tyler Brown has found the best source for heritage breed beef which now graze on the grasses at Glen Leven.  The farm at Glen Leven also provides the vegetables that are used in all seasonally planned dishes.   Chef Brown is actively involved with Share Our Strength, an organization whose mission is to end childhood hunger by 2015, and the Chef’s Move to Schools program, an offshoot of the Let’s Move program.  Also, by supporting the Southern Foodways Alliance, the team at the Capitol Grille works to assure that the recipes and methods passed from generation to generation are not lost.  The Capitol Grille is Nashville’s only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond restaurant. 

More information about the hotel can be found at!/hermitagehotelnashville

About LEAD Academy

LEAD Academy is a charter school based near downtown Nashville.  The school takes a comprehensive view of student development and prepares each student to graduate from a four-year college, while at the same time instilling in them the values of community service and self-reliance needed to be productive, selfless adults.

The core of the LEAD Academy mission is the belief that learning takes place in the mind, wherever one is – every hour of every day. Thus, every student, friend, family-member, instructor, worker, neighborhood resident, college faculty member, college student, and businessperson contributes to the development of our students. As a result, learning at LEAD Academy is never confined to the boundaries of the classroom. Learning at LEAD Academy is a constant, community process.

About the Land Trust for Tennessee

The Land Trust for Tennessee is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, founded in 1999.  Its mission is to preserve the unique character of Tennessee’s natural and historic landscapes for future generations. The Land Trust works with willing landowners to find ways to preserve forever the historic, scenic and natural values of their land. The organization is supported primarily by financial contributions from individuals. The Land Trust has offices in Nashville, Sewanee/Monteagle, Hickman County and Chattanooga. More information is available at

About the Farm at Glen Leven

Located just five miles from the front door of The Hermitage Hotel, the farm at Glen Leven is a 66 acre historic site that is owned by the Land Trust for Tennessee.  The farm, originally over 900 acres in size, was given to Thomas Thompson as payment for his service during the American Revolutionary War.  For generations, the farm grew and prospered and was well known for its superior horticulture.  The farm also supplied produce to the historic Maxwell House Hotel before it burned in the 1960’s.  The Land Trust for Tennessee has graciously allowed the Capitol Grille to create a substantial period garden on the land using sustainable practices.

Janet Kurtz, The Hermitage Hotel,, 615.456.3953

About Us

The Hermitage Hotel in Downtown Nashville: Easy Going Elegance, Five Star Luxury Get a taste of Tennessee tradition. Southern hospitality and all of the comforts of home combine at The Hermitage Hotel, in the center of downtown Nashville, TN. Opened in 1910, The Hermitage Hotel has been woven into the history and memories of Nashville and her residents for over 100 years. With a deep respect for Nashville and Tennessee, The Hermitage Hotel is committed to preserving the region’s heritage and practicing the traditions that make hospitality synonymous with The South. Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, staying at The Hermitage Hotel will make your trip more fun, more beautiful and much more memorable. The Hermitage Hotel is Tennessee’s only Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond hotel.