On Thursday, May 2, 2013, the CommunityGrows staff went to visit the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, for a little inspiration, reflection, and exchange of ideas. Invited by Wendy Johnson, a longtime friend and supporter of both CommunityGrows and the Edible Schoolyard, we toured the garden along with the current farm interns of Green Gulch Farm, another long term partner of CommunityGrows. The Edible Schoolyard was created 17 years ago by Chef Alice Waters and Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley. Created as a learning garden to connect students to growing, harvesting and cooking fresh food, the Edible schoolyard has become a model and inspiration for many schoolyard gardens around the country and the world.
As a group we explored the garden, orchards, and chicken coop; learned about the Edible Schoolyard’s model for both garden and cooking classes; and viewed a cooking class in progress in their amazing kitchen facility. Afterward, we worked for a bit in their herb garden, and ate a delicious meal in the school’s cafeteria, which also serves as the central kitchen for all of Berkeley’s elementary and middle schools. Visiting the Edible Schoolyard reminded me that it is possible for a small group of committed people to make a tremendous positive impact on a school and a community. It reminded all of us of the great importance of our work at CommunityGrows, and that the gardens we work in and nurture, are a great asset in helping to grow healthy, thoughtful, and positive youth in the schools and communities we are working in. Thank you to the Edible Schoolyard for letting us visit, and thank you to all the supporters of CommunityGrows for believing in our work and vision of growing healthy youth, through growing gardens.