A Visit to Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard
Fifteen years ago, chef Alice Waters saw a large vacant lot on the grounds of a middle school near her Berkeley home, and decided to help transform it into a garden. The Edible Schoolyard—now filled with fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and even a chicken coop—helps teach middle school students about both growing food and preparing it, using a small kitchen next to the garden to demonstrate cooking. We visited recently and took a look through the garden. It’s an inspiring example for any gardener, but especially for anyone interested in urban food education.
The garden grows a huge variety of produce that varies from season to season. Sustainable gardening methods are used throughout. A 6,000 gallon rainwater catchment system harvests and stores water; a solar panel runs the water pump in a pond. A network of volunteers works with teachers and students to keep the garden maintained and work with the students. Gardening techniques include some that are specific to urban farming, like the potato towers pictured in the third-to-last photo above.
(Images: Adele Peters)