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The Edible Schoolyard

By Jennifer Wolcott / January 5, 2000



One of Alice Waters' most gratifying projects is the Edible Schoolyard, which she founded at Martin Luther King Jr. Junior High School in Berkeley, Calif.

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There she helped transform blacktop into a garden where students tend and harvest their own crops before heading to the kitchen to cook them. "They recently rated it their third favorite subject after art and gym," she says, beaming. Ms. Waters conceived the idea after driving past the school for years, each time feeling more disturbed by its neglected appearance. Eventually, she and the principal talked, and before she knew it, they agreed to launch the project.

While the children are digging and planting, they are learning respect for one another and the planet - the project's goal. In "Learning in the Real World," an educational publication, Waters writes of her vision: "From the garden, and the kitchen, and the table, you learn empathy - for each other and for all creation; you learn compassion; and you learn patience and self-discipline. A curriculum that teaches these lessons gives children an orientation to the future - and it can give them hope."

It is Waters' aim for the Edible Schoolyard to serve as a pilot for schools across America. She is encouraged by the announcement that Berkeley's school board recently voted unanimously to serve only organic foods in the city's school cafeterias.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society