If you haven’t read this book yet – it’s a must!  I just read it and am so inspired!  What an absolutely amazing story and idea.  I am envisioning my new career or at least volunteer career at the kid’s school. As you know I currently volunteer at the kid’s school gardening and doing garden related projects – but there is only so much you can do with kids 5 years old and younger.  But the thought of working with older kids and incorporating cooking too – ohhhhh – that just sounds heavenly!

So the cliff notes go like this…… Alice Waters – owner of Chez Pannise in Berkeley and whom I believe to be the originator of eating locally and seasonally or at least the person who made it chic, would walk by this middle school everyday and see this run down schoolyard and a school where some kids came from humble (I’m being generous in th term humble) homes.  Alice approached the principal and proposed tearing up the one acre asphalt yard and turning it into a garden.  The principal tried to call her bluff – but this amazing lady made it happen. 

she had the asphalt torn out, the soil tilled, a cover crop planted and so began the Edible Schoolyard.  The kids were involved in the planting and creating of the garden.  Soon the dilapidated 1930’s kitchen was cleaned up, and turned back into a working kitchen. 

My brief summary of how it all began does not do the story nearly justice – you can get a history at this link or definitely pick up the book and give it a read (very easy read).

Now the teachers in all of the subjects use the garden and kitchen for teaching their specific subject matter (math, history, reading/writing, etc).   Most people wouldn’t think that you could teach/learn about math in a garden – but it works.  Not to mention, these kids are getting their hands dirty and learning about the earth and good, fresh food – something they may have never learned about.  In a time when childhood obesity is a huge problem, this edible schoolyard will help to reverse the effects of years of over consumption, processed and fast foods have done to us.

I am thrilled to be teaching my children about the earth and growing their own food and now I have the honor of passing this on to their fellow classmates.  I would be so joyful to actually be able to help introduce/incorporate the edible schoolyard philosophy, principles and curriculum to their future schools (I will be looking in to how to make this happen).

I encourage everyone to get out in the dirt with their kids (even if you don’t have kids – get out there).  You don’t need a lot of space, you can do a container garden, you can grow your own herbs or lettuce – whatever it is – there is nothing better than going out into your garden and picking food you have grown and eating it. 

I also encourage you to approach your kid’s school principal and take the initiative to start your own garden.  You’ll be amazed at how open administrators are to ideas – especially when there is volunteer work involved 😉  Get a group of parents together and make it happen – Alice did!