Teaching children with the Edible Schoolyard

Photo Courtesy of David Silver/FLICKR

Photo Courtesy of David Silver/FLICKR

By Victoria Starbuck, Staff Writer

Published in print Apr. 1, 2015

Nestled among the hustle and bustle of downtown Greensboro sits a half-acre garden designed to provide the community with knowledge of seed-to-table growth.

Founded by Alice Waters in conjunction with the Chez Panisse Foundation, the Edible Schoolyard at Greensboro Children’s Museum is part of a wider garden network.

The program works to empower individuals and groups within the community to take control of the food they consume.

Waters began her project of improving food education in schools at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, CA.

Waters, who passed by the schoolyard every day, was quoted in the local newspaper as believing that the middle school appeared as if no one cared for it. Shortly afterwards, the principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, Neil Smith, contacted Waters. He offered Waters an opportunity to tour the school, in the hopes of gaining insight from her into what changes would best benefit the children.

After touring the facility, Waters noted that a garden and teaching kitchen would improve the curriculum and quality of the school. Conversations with faculty at the middle school led to envisioning creative ways of incorporating classroom curriculum into a garden and kitchen setting.

Waters created the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996 in the hopes of providing children in public schools with exposure to the process of preparing fresh and healthy meals. This foundation worked to spread Waters’ work in Berkeley to other schools across the nation.

In 2009, the Edible Schoolyard at Greensboro Children’s Museum became one of the six founding offshoots of the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley. Since its installation, the program at Greensboro Children’s Museum has grown to serve over 40,000 people.

The Edible Schoolyard at Greensboro Children’s Museum caters to kids of all ages. Events hosted at the Edible Schoolyard teach about the process of growing and preparing food.

By teaching others the process of preparing food from beginning to end, the Edible Schoolyard hopes to encourage its students to become excited about eating in a healthier manner.

From herbs, to vegetable, to livestock, the Edible Schoolyard provides the surrounding community with a vast array of cooking possibilities. The Edible Schoolyard hosts cooking classes for the community at least once a month.

Discounts are available to members of the Greensboro Children’s Museum.

Summer enrichment programs provide children from preschool through eighth grade the opportunity for daily immersion in the garden and kitchen program. Each four-day camp provides participants with lessons in a specific aspect of gardening, farming or cooking.   

From the seven original Edible Schoolyards, Alice Waters’ project has grown to include over 4,000 locations across the globe.

Today, the Edible Schoolyard Network can be found on six different continents. The organization includes businesses, garden classrooms, school cafeterias, academic classrooms, support organizations, kitchen classrooms and farm based projects.

Alice Waters’ desire to help improve the lives of children within her own community lead to creating a positive impact on students across the globe.

Waters hopes that one day all students from kindergarten through high school will have access to a free, organic and healthy lunch.



Categories: Features, Victoria Starbuck

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