Back from the Edible Schoolyard Academy
Published Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013
-Letter from our Children’s Programs Director, Heather Hill
Back in June, I attended The Edible Schoolyard Academy in Berkeley, California. The Edible Schoolyard staff have been gardening and cooking with students at King Middle School for 20 years and in that time have successfully integrated their garden and kitchen programs into the standard school curriculum. With the support and backing of Alice Waters and an innovative staff, they have become a model of what is possible. As such, they began hosting an annual academy several years ago to begin to build a national network and training for those working in the emerging field of garden based education programs.
During my four days of training, I learned about The Edible Schoolyard’s impressive program structure, activities, and curriculum. But perhaps the most impactful aspect of the academy was getting to the heart of what this work is about and talking to people from all over the country who are creating gardening and cooking experiences for children that foster connection to food, land, wellness, respect for themselves and each other. As Ron Finley stated in a recent interview “It’s connection, period. To me, the garden is no more than a metaphor for life. Everything you experience in life happens in the garden.”
The idea behind the Waters’ coined phrase “Delicious Revolution” is one where we commit to supporting local farmers, celebrating seasonality, growing at least some of our own food (even if it is a few potted herbs!) and delighting in the preparation and enjoyment of real food. It is also about empowering children and young people to participate in, learn from, and create the tactile and pleasurable experiences of gardening, cooking, and eating. Through creating a delicious meal together, setting the table with care, and enjoying each other’s company, we show children and adults alike that we care about them. Plus, there is the undeniable phenomena of kids enthusiastically eating vegetables they grew with their own hands when only months prior they passionately loathed the very same vegetables. Gardening expands little taste buds!
As we move into our building and explore the potential of our new indoor program spaces (especially our teaching kitchen!), I am looking forward to continuing the work of creating this simple but powerful experience for children in our community. Starting in Spring, 2014 SEEDS will re-launch and expand our children’s programs to include after-school, school break programs, summer camp programs, classroom experiences, and field trips where kids will learn and grow in the garden and the kitchen. We can’t wait!
If you would like more information about our children’s programs and how you can enroll your child or receive a garden based science or nutrition lesson for your class, please contact Heather Hill firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-683-1197
You can visit the The Edible Schoolyard Project at edibleschoolyard.com for more information and to link into their network of garden education programs and invaluable curriculum resources.