We hit the Edible Schoolyard’s Mother’s Day fundraiser this week-end and much to our delight discovered not only a Mother’s Day present for my wonderful mother-in-law, but a field of organic dreams. There were green, leafy veggies, stalks of corn and a summer salad full of fruits and veggies growing in the soil. Because this was a fundraiser, visitors could not only tour the garden and kitchen workshop but actually buy potted plants and trees grown by the kids.
The Edible Schoolyard is located on a former parking lot of the Martin Luther King Jr. School in North Berkeley. It sprang up in 1994 after the school Principal invited Alice Waters to plan a school garden. Alice (the founder of the slow-food movement and Chez Panisse Restaurant) apparently used to walk past the school each day and made an off-handed comment about the state of the school to someone, catching the ear of Principal Neil Smith. And so, with Alice’s help, the Edible Schoolyard was born.
Now, the children attending the school have their own teaching garden and kitchen where they learn to grow, harvest and cook produce from the garden. They’re even raising chickens. You can’t help but wonder what positive long-term effects the Edible Schoolyard is going to have on these young urban farmers.
The spirit of the school was so contagious that we purchased a potted strawberry plant and some strawberry rose jam (from Blue Chair) and set out to some thrift stores to find the perfect basket to arrange a Mother’s Day present. Knowing that strawberries are a hit with my Mother-in-law, we happened upon a set of four strawberry-themed bread plates and a set of four hand-made strawberry placemats, which completed our theme. Touring the Edible Schoolyard and hitting a few thrift stores. What a delicious way to spend a Spring afternoon!