Learning in the Garden

March 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

We recently had the pleasure of visiting The Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley last week.  If you haven’t heard about this program, let us give you the low downAlice Waters started this program 14 years ago in an effort to integrate food systems concepts into the core curriculum.  We toured the incredible garden (used to be a parking lot!) that was filled with flowering sweat peas, carrots (of course), apple orchards, and every green you can imagine.

It was inspiring to see a class of 6th graders hard at work planting seeds, shoveling compost, chasing chickens, and having a ball.  There were all kinds of projects throughout the garden that had been created by the kids such as mushroom cultivation and hand built clay benches.  It was really interesting to see all the learning applications this applies to…. science, history, language, math and the list goes on.

The tour of the kitchen was inspiring to see.  The students participate in creating a snack from the garden.  They chop vegetables, grind the herbs, roll out the dough themselves to make their snack. After the table is set, they sit down for a meal together. For some, this is the only home cooked meal they will get.  It was moving to witness this process and see the positive impact it has on their lives.  The students not only gain an appreciation for cooking and eating healthy, fresh, organic food, but also learn table manners.

After seeing all the delicious looking veggies, we had to stop by  Chez Panisse, where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch.  I had a salad of bright yellow and red beets, avocado and goat cheese followed by a winter vegetable cous cous that had a wonderful spicy indian sauce.  They served a fresh mint tea that we couldn’t get enough of.  To satisfy our sweet tooth we kept it light with tangerines and medjool dates that were delightful.

I was so inspired by the day that I have decided to volunteer in the kitchen next fall….. can’t wait!

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