This weekend, chef and food activist Alice Waters rings in 40 years since opening Chez Panisse restaurant and relaunches the Edible Schoolyard Project, her groundbreaking food curriculum and school garden program. In this short film from Nourish, she discusses the value of garden and kitchen experiences in transforming students’ relationship to food.
A Delicious Revolution
A champion of the local, seasonal food movement, Alice Waters is not just a chef but also a food literacy pioneer. In 1995, she founded the Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, comprised of a one-acre garden, an adjacent kitchen-classroom, and an “eco-gastronomic” curriculum.
A year later, she founded the Chez Panisse Foundation to support educational programs that use food to nurture, educate, and empower youth, particularly in urban communities. The project has grown, and today there are affiliate gardens in Greensboro, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York, and San Francisco.
Next: How you can participate in the delicious revolution
As an educator or parent, there are many ways you can participate in this delicious revolution in your school or home:
- Garden. Grow some of your own food, explore nature’s classroom, and share with the young people in your life. If your school doesn’t have a garden, organize with administrators, teachers, and parents to make one happen. California School Garden Network and School Garden Wizard offer useful guides.
- Cook from scratch. Engage children in the story of their food through hands-on teaching in the kitchen. Plan meals with your kids, shop together, and involve the whole family in the cooking process. Discover more tips in Cooking Together.
- Eat with others. Make mealtime a central event in your home. Nurture pleasure and encourage an appreciation of foods that nourish the body and the environment.
- Teach. FoodCorps just launched a national service program to train young leaders in nutrition education and school gardening. Visit their website to apply to be a service member or nominate your school to become a FoodCorps host site.
- Advocate for healthy school lunches. If you’re a parent or teacher, campaign to remove vending machines, processed snacks, fast food, and flavored milk, and put healthy, locally sourced options on the menu.
Download the Nourish Middle School Curriculum Guide to discover more ways to integrate food literacy into the classroom.
How has Alice Waters inspired you?