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Alice Waters Takes New York School Yards


Even though Jamie Oliver has been banned from LA schools, back in NYC the original celebrity chef Alice Waters has introduced a school garden at PS 216. Following in her inventive food steps, PS 333 has built a greenhouse classroom combo.

The Edible Schoolyard, as Alice Waters calls it, has turned a quarter-acre of asphalt parking lot into an organic garden with a small classroom. It’s powered by the sun and has communal tables and a kitchen so the kids can cook the fruits of their labor. When the weather changes every fall, the classroom has a moveable greenhouse that will be rolled out. There is also an outdoor pizza oven, chicken coop, composting system and rainwater collector. Um… can we move in?

This Edible Schoolyard, which launched last October, was the most expensive of all Alice’s ES projects but the one at PS 216 will operate year-round. Over 460 students from pre-K to fifth grade will use the greenhouse to get lessons in art, math, history, science and, of course, the benefits of eating right and growing your own food. There are plans to launch 25 more Edible Schoolyards in NYC.

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From the Organic Authority Files

Across the river, PS 333 has teamed up with The Sun Works Center for Environmental Studies to create the first rooftop environmental science lab in New York City public schools. The 1,420-square-foot lab sits on the 3rd floor roof and serves students from kindergarten through 8th grade. The classroom can fit up to 40 kids and is available everyday of the school year. The students will learn about the relationships between humans and the environment, sustainable development, science and more. The decked out classroom has hydroponic veggie farming, solar panels, rainwater collection systems, weather station, worm composting and a kitchen corner. This greenhouse is projected to grow 8,000 pounds of produce a year, including cucumbers, strawberries, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and squash for classroom snacks, cafeteria food, after school programs and more. However, as many as 400-600 plants can grown at any given time. Currently they are working on another at PS 89.

We’re so jealous! Why didn’t schools have these when we were growing up?

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Image by NY Times

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