A message from our Founder, Alice Waters
It has been fifteen years since we began our experiment at the Martin Luther King Jr Middle School in Berkeley and somewhat audaciously, before the asphalt even broke, declared it the Edible Schoolyard. In that time, I am astonished at not only how that original program has grown and thrived, but how the ideas that sprung from there have spread around the country and around the world. Over the years we have connected and become allies with those are engaged in that same kind of work and together have inspired many and built a movement with unstoppable momentum. Now as I travel around the country I see school gardens and kitchens being established in every climate and in every community. On the front page of our newspapers we discuss how best to feed children in school and our First Lady has become a powerful champion of edible education. It is not so long ago that all of that seemed unlikely, if not impossible.
At the beginning of 2011 I had a realization. It had been 40 years since I opened my restaurant, Chez Panisse, and that milestone caused me to take stock of where we are headed and to evaluate my life's work. At the Chez Panisse Foundation we had long strived to make our programs complete, to realize a full vision of edible education with the Edible Schoolyard, its Founding Programs around the country and the School Lunch Initiative. We hoped to do our best, with limited means,
to inspire educators, children, parents, activists and legislators via those programs. It was not enough. At the 40th birthday of Chez Panisse I decided to rename the Chez Panisse Foundation the Edible Schoolyard Project and to renew my commitment to making edible education not only possible for every child, but a reality.
To achieve that ambitious goal we have decided to give everything away, to share what we have learned and gather the best practices from others. We have always been generous with visitors to our programs but now with new and innovative technology we have the opportunity to reach so many more people than we ever have before. It is with immense pride that I can launch our new website which I hope will be a thoughtful resource, a clever tool and a conduit for communication between us. However most importantly, I hope that it is a powerful unifying force that will continue to strengthen the mandate for an edible education for every child.