aliceI’m a mega-fan of super-chef and real food advocate Alice Waters. She has taught me a lot about sustainable, slow food and has improved my culinary skills over the years just by reading her amazing cookbooks and cooking her amazing recipes. Her Edible Schoolyard program, an organic garden and kitchen classroom located at a public middle school in Berkeley (home of Waters’ iconic Chez Panisse) is truly an inspiration and a model for others to follow.

At the magical Edible Schoolyard, kids in grades 6, 7 and 8 at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School learn about food facts both simple and critical like…:

  • the origins of food, plant life cycles, community values
  • the pleasures of work
  • how to prepare and eat delicious, nutritious, seasonal dishes made from produce they grow in their own garden

Edible Schoolyard – Sharing the Bounty

In 1999, an Edible Schoolyard Children’s Museum was launched in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2005, Alice and her gang helped launch Edible Schoolyard NOLA at the Samuel J. Green Charter School in New Orleans. And on Saturday, October 17th, Edible Schoolyard will host a grand opening for its newest location at the Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club at Hunters Point in San Francisco.

A San Francisco Department of Public Health report that stated that alcohol, tobacco, and junk food are the most commonly sold products in Hunters Point, with many children purchasing snacks from “candy houses” – makeshift stores run by residents out of their homes.  The ESY in Hunters Point will work towards turning this sorry state-of-affairs around, bringing real food – and an appreciation for it –  to areas that are underserved by organic markets – and even regular supermarkets for that matter (low income neighborhoods typically have 30% fewer supermarkets than higher income neighborhoods).

Food equity, food appreciation, food celebration…here’s to Alice Waters and her team of committed real food advocates and the important work they do, every day.

Keep connected with ESY’s day-to-day happenings in their online Journal. Truly inspiring stuff.

If you want to truly learn about seasonal, organic and sustainable foods in highly recommend picking up one of her many cookbooks for inspiration. If you are new to cooking, pick up The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution , in it she covers the basics of classic culinary cuisine. Other favorites on my book shelf are Chez Panisse Café Cookbook, Chez Panisse Fruit and Chez Panisse Vegetables

If you want to start your own edible school yard pick up Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea.