Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Edible Schoolyard Project

After hearing so much about The Edible Schoolyard Project, I was beyond thrilled to be invited to to take part in a class. Twenty years ago, Alice Waters spearheaded this program at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California, and has since helped to implement edible education across the country.
Nothing prepared me for the extraordinary undertaking and the commitment that’s gone into this program. I had the notion that the students were simply planting a garden and using the vegetables they grew to prepare a shared meal, which they are, but there is much, much more. 

The day I visited, I joined one of the classes in the garden and was struck by how excited the students got learning how to propagate plants. We learned how to determine which carrots were ripe and ready to be pulled and properly harvest them. Then, we got to taste their unbelievable sweetness. One student said, “I’ve never liked carrots until today. These are nothing like those little punched-out orange things in a plastic bag that you get in the grocery store!”. 

In the kitchen classroom, the lesson continued. We discussed how produce is transported from farms to consumers and effortlessly, we were learning a bit of economics, logistics, history and geography. Then the students put on aprons and proceeded to make a fresh vegetable soup with everything they’d harvested from the garden. As we sat down to eat, they handed me a bowl. It was the best fresh vegetable soup I’d ever tasted. At the end of class, the kids were beaming and I felt like a kid again! 

My hat’s off to everyone involved in The Edible Schoolyard Project and I hope that you’ll join me in support of programs such as this. Imagine a world in which every single school curriculum includes edible education!