Friday, May 31, 2013

Feel Good Friday - The Edible Schoolyard Project

Those of you who live in the Bay Area, and many of you who don't, are familiar with Alice Waters. She's credited with creating "California cuisine" as the owner of Chez Panisse, a Berkeley restaurant in business for over 40 years. She's known for using local, organic food and it's consistently rated as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.  If you've been, go again and next time, take me won't you?

Alice Waters is featured in Feel Good Friday because in 1996, seeing a blighted middle school she always passed on her way to the restaurant, she was inspired to "start a garden and build a teaching kitchen that could become tools for enriching the curriculum and life of the school community." Working with the school's principal and the Center for Ecoliteracy, the Edible Schoolyard (ESY) was born. {For the full origin story, check here:}

As they say on the ESY website, "The mission of the Edible Schoolyard Project is to build and share an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high school. Our vision is for gardens and kitchens to become interactive classrooms for academic subjects, and for every student to have a free, nutritious, organic lunch."

Since they started 17 years ago, ESY has served over 7,000 students and now operates in 2226 locations in 11 countries! All I learned about food in middle school was that a tunafish sandwich left unrefrigerated in your locker all morning won't kill you if you eat it, though it probably should. I share this only so you can make an informed decision if you're invited to dinner on the same night by me and an ESY graduate.

Want to get involved?

There are online resources for educators, parents and advocates who want to share edible education lesson plans and best practices. If you, like me, just want to eat - there are recipes there too!

You can register for the next tour of ESY Berkeley on June 6th at 9:00am, attend their annual Mothers' Day fundraising plant sale or at least like them on Facebook so you'll always know what's happening.

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