Edible Schoolyard Project FAQ
What is edible education?
Edible education is the use of food–from the garden to the kitchen–as a tool to teach lessons on academic curriculum, health, community, and the environment.
Why are you changing your name?
For a few reasons: One, there is sometimes a misunderstanding of the work of CPF and ESY and the relationship between CPF and the Chez Panisse restaurant. Many people, for instance, think of the Chez Panisse Foundation as the philanthropic arm of Chez Panisse Restaurant, or wonder if the kids at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley eat lunch at Chez Panisse every day. Neither instance is true. Perhaps more significantly, the term “Edible Schoolyard” has become a nationally recognized term that people are excited about using for their own programs. We want to blow open the scope of our organization’s work and make the term and the lesson’s we’ve learned at ESY available to everyone.
What is the purpose of the new website?
In the 15+ years of the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, we have received thousands of e-mails, calls, and visits from parents and teachers wanting to incorporate edible education into their own homes and classrooms each year. With this new Web site, we’ll be able to point parents and educators straight to our resource center, where they can access and download best practices (recipes, lesson plans, administrative tips, fundraising ideas, community outreach plans, etc.) from us and other engaged programs all over the country for free. In addition to gathering and sharing best practices and toolkits, we will also be mapping the movement of edible education across the country and beyond. This feature will both visualize the growth of Edible Schoolyards nationwide and also allow people to find and connect with one another based on their location.
Are only public schools welcome to join the network?
No. In our group of founding affiliates alone, we have a private school, charter schools, public schools, and even a children’s museum. The lesson we have learned at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, and with our founding affiliates, is that these ideas are adaptable everywhere.
What do members get access to?
Online members have complete access to our online resource center, allowing them to download any best practice they’d like and share any tips of their own that might serve another program well. They’ll also be able to look at the interactive map of edible education programs around the world and contact any of the programs that pique their interest.
How can I get involved?
Join the movement and spread the word. We’d love for you to be a part of our online community and keep yourself abreast of what’s happening in the movement to bring our children into a positive relationship to food. Simply sign up at edibleschoolyard.org and encourage your friends to do the same. We are also always looking for lead supporters who can help us continue to expand and strengthen the movement for edible education in America. Please refer to the “Development Opportunities and Long Term Goals” section of this packet.
Where will my donation go?
Your donation will go to support the movement for edible education. Specifically, your donation will be used to:
Support the operating costs of our model Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, which educates 1,000 children annually through a one-acre garden and kitchen program; Fund an annual Edible Schoolyard Academy where we bring 90 educators from around the world to Berkeley, CA and provide them with an in-depth training on our 15-years of lessons; Develop printed and digital publications on edible education; and Support the creation and management of our online community that provides free downloadable lesson plans and toolkits to anyone interested in edible education.
Are there any other volunteer opportunities at Edible Schoolyard Project?
If you are interested in volunteering regularly or for special projects in our Edible Schoolyard Project offices in Berkeley, please be in touch with Krissa Nichols
What are your areas of pro bono need?
Right now we are most in need of pro bono video production and editing services to ensure that our new Website has engaging and consistently updated content. Please contact Emilie Gioia
if you or anyone you know has the capacity to support us in this way. As our organization expands and evolves, our needs will grow, so please check back here for updates. Of course, if you have any exciting pro bono opportunities you think we should be aware of, we would love to hear from you.
What is the Founding Edible Schoolyard program?
In 2005, the Chez Panisse Foundation started the Edible Schoolyard Affiliate Program. The Affiliate program brought together edible education programs from around the country that had taken the ideals of the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley and adapted them to their own communities and institutions. We currently have six founding affiliates.
Do you fund the Founding Edible Schoolyard program?
We do not currently provide funding for the Founding Edible Schollyards; each is independently operated.
My daughter’s school wants to be a Founding Edible Schoolyard, can they?
While we are not currently accepting any new Founding Edible Schoolyards, any school or program can join our movement. A school or program representative just needs to sign up at edibleschoolyard.org
and create a profile for their organization.
As a parent, what can I do?
There are so many ways for a parent to help. Encourage your child’s school to get involved and incorporate lessons of edible education into their curriculum. Plant a garden in your back (or front) yard. Help raise money for a school garden and volunteer to keep it going. Cook a family meal. Take your kids and their friends to famers’ markets and farms. And, of course, check our Web site’s resource center for more ideas for parents.
What is the Edible Schoolyard's operating budget?
The annual operating budget of the Edible Schoolyard Project is $1.7 million. Over one third of this goes to support the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley. The remainder goes to support Web site development, staffing, fundraising, and events to promote edible education for all.
How is The Edible Schoolyard Project funded?
The Edible Schoolyard Project is funded through individual donations, foundation support, earned income through publications and seminars, and corporate support.
I represent a foundation or corporation interested in funding the Edible Schoolyard Project. How do I support the edible education movement?
Thank you. Please contact Krissa Nichols
for specific funding opportunities. If you are an individual interested in supporting our organization at any level please visit our donate page
What is the budget of the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley?
The budget of the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley is about $600,000 per year. The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley serves as a sort of “think tank” or “lab” for these ideas. What we’ve found is that edible education is universal and while it’s been best to develop this kind of pedagogy in a large, flourishing garden or well-equipped kitchen, what works beautifully at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley can be adapted effectively for a raised bed on a roof top, or even a window box anywhere. Until edible education is incorporated as part of the academic curriculum nationwide, we know that is beyond the reach of many public schools and community programs. We hope our new Web site will serve as a tool to provide free resources to anyone who is excited about making edible education happen.
Does the Edible Schoolyard Project provide grants?
The Edible Schoolyard Project is not a granting organization. We encourage you to search for fundraising resources
that have been contributed by other edible education programs. You will find these in the Resources section
of edibleschoolyard.org. We hope you will add to these resources
and share your successful fundraising tips with other advocates for edible education.
What is the relationship between Alice, Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard Project?
Alice Waters founded the Chez Panisse Restaurant 40 years ago. Fifteen years ago she founded the Chez Panisse Foundation. While the Foundation and Restaurant used to share part of a name and they have the same founder, organizationally the two are separate entities with separate leadership and management. Over the past years, we have all shared office space and Alice is very involved in the day-to-day operations of both the Restaurant and the Edible Schoolyard Project. She participates in most meetings and decision-making pertaining to both.
What is the relationship between the Edible Schoolyard Project and the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley?
The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley (ESYB) is a program of the Edible Schoolyard Project (ESYP), which means that ESYP has funded ESYB since its beginning.
What is the relationship between the Edible Schoolyard Project and Chez Panisse Restaurant?
The Edible Schoolyard Project and Chez Panisse Restaurant are two separate entities, both founded by Alice Waters. Chez Panisse restaurant supports the ESY Project with an annual donation and resources for our fundraising, education, and outreach efforts.
Edible Schoolyard Berkeley FAQ
How can I volunteer at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley?
Since 1995, volunteers have been integral to the Edible Schoolyard’s success, enriching students’ education in the garden and kitchen classrooms. Volunteers, from neighbors and university students to parents and teachers, find their time at the Edible Schoolyard to be deeply rewarding. Most importantly, volunteering demonstrates to students the caring and commitment of our community.
Throughout the school year, classroom volunteers join students in King Middle School’s sixth, seventh, and eighth grade for weekly scheduled classes in the kitchen and garden. Outside of classes, our Wednesday Weeders offer vital garden support after school. Unfortunately, we cannot accept short-term volunteers.
Because the Edible Schoolyard works within a public school, all volunteers must be certified to work with children by the office of Berkeley School Volunteers (BSV) before beginning their commitment. To start the process of becoming an Edible Schoolyard volunteer, visit the BSV Website
and attend a regularly-scheduled BSV new volunteer orientation session. At that time, indicate that you would like to work at the Edible Schoolyard. Doing so will place you on the volunteer waitlist, and our office will contact you when we can offer you space as a classroom volunteer; there is no waitlist for the Wednesday Weeders group.
A visit is an excellent way to learn more about the program before joining as a volunteer. Please visit the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley “visit us” section to see a schedule of monthly tours and to reserve a space. Thank you again for your interest.
How can I visit the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley?
The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley is open to the public at all times when school is not in session. Weekends, weekdays before 8:30 a.m. and after 3:00 p.m., and school holidays are all times when we welcome people to visit the garden and enjoy the space.
We recommend that visitors come on a public tour of The Edible Schoolyard whenever it is possible. This is a terrific opportunity to see our program in action, learn about how we operate, and to have any questions answered. You can see our current tour schedule and reserve a space by visiting our website. Please note that we do not offer public tours during the summer.
To find the Edible Schoolyard, go to the intersection of Rose and Grant Streets in Berkeley. Walk North on Grant Street for less than a block to where the street terminates at a chain-link fence. Pass through the gate, and you will see the Edible Schoolyard kitchen building and garden on your right. There is free, on-street parking on Rose and Grant streets.
What is the Edible Schoolyard Academy?
The Edible Schoolyard Academy is an annual program that the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley hosts to train educators looking to bring Edible Education to their schools. It is a three-day intensive about the running of the garden classroom, kitchen classroom, and administration of the program.
How do you work on school lunch reform?
In October 2005, the Chez Panisse Foundation provided a grant to the Berkeley Unified School District to hire chef Ann Cooper as the Director of Nutrition Services for the district. Through Cooper's persistence, we eliminated nearly all processed foods in the district and introduced fresh and organic foods to the daily menu, while remaining within the district's food service budget.
Through support from the Chez Panisse Foundation and Rodale Publishing, the Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley conducted a three year study to evaluate the initiative's impact on student attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors towards food. Click here to read the Evaluation of the School Lunch Initiative
. It is Alice’s ultimate vision that every child in America is fed a nutritious and free lunch at school and we’re working to strengthen the movement at large with the end goal of nationwide school lunch reform.
Does the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley garden provide the school lunch for the whole school?
We wish it could, however, with one thousand students at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, our one-acre garden just isn’t big enough to yield that kind of quantity. The harvest from the garden classroom–which is planted, cultivated, and harvested by the students–is used in the kitchen classroom for the meals that are prepared as a part of the cooking/social studies curriculum, which the students eat at the end of class, around a table they have set for themselves.
I am interested in conducting research and/or interviews at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley. How do I go about this?
Thank you for your interest in conducting research at the Edible Schoolyard. As you might imagine, we receive many requests from researchers interested in learning more about student, staff, and teacher experiences with the program. Our primary focus is to create a positive learning environment for our students, which is often at odds with certain research models or hosting frequent research projects. Thus, we are very selective about which research proposals we approve for implementation at the Edible Schoolyard.
To begin the process of applying to conduct research at the Edible Schoolyard, submit this form
to the Research Review Committee of the Berkeley Evaluation & Assessment office. If your application is approved, you will gain authorization to contact the principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School and the Director of the Edible Schoolyard, who will decide together whether to approve the research proposal.
Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate requests for research outside of the above process.