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Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard

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Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard

April 13, 2012

Driving past the middle school in Berkeley, California, Alice Waters assumed the place was abandoned: graffiti, dead grass, weeds growing through the asphalt.

That was 18 years ago. Today Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School has a one-acre farm garden that Prince Charles considered a must-see the last time he visited Berkeley. It's the first—and most famous—of seven Edible Schoolyards that chef Waters helped create nationwide. Students harvest and cook hundreds of varieties of vegetables and berries (and fruit from the school's trees). Coming soon: an eighth edible schoolyard, in Sacramento. Here's how it may one day look.

Photographs by Aya Brackett, unless otherwise noted.

700 edible schoolyard sign

Above: In a three-year study, UC Berkeley researchers followed 238 students' eating habits, and, concluded that access to healthy food at school (combined with a curriculum that teaches cooking and gardening) increases consumption of fruits and vegetables. Fifth graders, for instance, ate nearly an extra serving of vegetables every day.

700 aya brackett garlic

Above: Garlic from the garden.

700 aya brackett teepee

Above: Food is an academic subject in Berkeley, where students learn about photosynthesis from observing the garden's plants.

Alice Waters Edible Schoolyard  portrait 6

Above: A one-acre garden replaced an old parking lot. The first step was to plant a cover crop to improve soil quality. Now there are chicken coops, and a compost heap, and science class under a vine-covered pergola. Image by Michael Layefsky, via Flickr.

700 aya brackett pergola

Above: In the pergola, students sit on hay bales.

700 edible schoolyard cardoons

Above: Cardoons, a relative of the artichoke. Image by Marc, via Flickr.

700 aya brackett chard

Above: Rainbow chard.

700 edible garden shed

Above: The tool shed; gardening gloves hang from clothespins. Image via Sunisa.

700 aya brackett kids cook

Above: Mashing avocados in the garden's kitchen.

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