Feed The Yogi
Nourish your body, mind, spirit, practice and friends
The Edible Schoolyard

edible schoolyard1

I’ve had the window for The Chez Panisse Foundation open on my browser for over two weeks now. I keep meaning to post about their projects, but I keep getting sidetracked reading Alice Waters’ cookbook The Art Of Simple Food (and I’m totally distracted by the sunny summer days outside the window and the simple food galore that’s coming out of our garden). Finally today, enough is enough. The Chez Panisse Foundation is a non-profit organization created in 1996 in Berkeley, California in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Chez Panisse Restaurant.

The founder of both the restaurant and the foundation, chef and author Alice Waters, has been a pioneer in the Slow Food movement, and has always maintained a commitment to using local and sustainably farmed food and supporting independent, organic and fair farming practices. In many ways Alice Waters has effectively shaped the food and farming community from her base in Berkley outwards to what is now an international movement that is gaining momentum daily. Her perseverance to her craft (“gourmet” cuisine) and dedication to her community’s health and well-being through food has led the way for countless community gardens, farm-to-table initiatives, Slow Foods chapters, and CSA’s to form and flourish nation-wide.

The lovely Alice Waters and her gardeners

The Edible Schoolyard (ESY), established in 1995, (a program of the Chez Panisse Foundation) is a one-acre garden and kitchen classroom at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California.

“The garden started as a cover crop in a vacant lot with once-monthly student participation. More than a decade later, it is a thriving acre of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Now, each student at King Middle School attends 12 to 30 sessions in ESY kitchen and garden classrooms, depending on grade level. ESY reaches each of the nearly 1,000 students at King Middle School.

The visibility of ESY has also increased. The program hosts over 1,000 visitors each year—from educators, to health professionals, to international delegates—and has inspired countless kitchen and garden programs. In 2005, ESY launched the first affiliate program in New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, there is a small network of Edible Schoolyard affiliate programs in cities across the country.” -excerpt

Awareness of food, nutrition and ecosystems can be learned at any point in life, but developing sensitivity and understanding of one’s own body as relates to the body of the earth and learning that to take care of one is to take care of the other is best learned at a young age. ESY provides an opportunity to cultivate this awareness at an early age for youngsters who may not otherwise have a strong connection to nature, and in doing so these kids will grow up with the seeds of mindfulness already planted and hopefully continue this good work (and good eating) for the rest of their lives.

9 Principles of a food revolution:

1. Eat locally and sustainably
2. Eat seasonally
3. Shop at farmer’s markets
4. Plant a garden
5. Conserve, compost, and recycle
6. Cook together
7. Eat together
8. Remember food is precious

“They are the principles of a delicious revolution, one that can reconnect our families and communities with the most basic human values, provide the deepest delight for all our senses, and assure our well-being for a lifetime.”
– Alice Waters

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