Bringing Edible Education to Life in Film, by Kyle Cornforth
The last year and a half has brought some fun and invigorating changes to the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley. We have created our own Edible Schoolyard standards, asking ourselves, “What do we want to teach about growing and preparing food in a collaborative way,” and “How do we ensure that every child leaves our program understanding the tools, techniques, and concepts that we want them to absorb?” We have looked at every lesson and activity taught in the program over the last 17 years to answer our own questions: “Is this still relevant?” “How does this lesson fit into our overall goals?” Some lessons have been archived as we take measures to evaluate the efficacy of our programming. At times, this undertaking has been frustrating and arduous, but the exercise has inspired our newer members and has helped our more seasoned staff review our curriculum with a discerning eye.
As we work to update our curriculum to create a scope and sequence of lessons for each grade, we have documented each and every lesson and all of the accompanying resources that we use to teach them. One of our goals from the very beginning of our program was to share the work of the Edible Schoolyard with anyone who asked for information – to be a resource and place of inspiration for educators at any point in their garden or kitchen program development.
The new Edible Schoolyard Project website provides us with a robust publishing tool that enables us to share what we have learned with a larger network of educators who might normally call, email, or visit us to ask their questions. Our lessons and their supplemental files are available for download in the Resource Center. (Click here to view the first of our seven films in the series.)
In our kitchen classroom and the garden, we strive to create beautiful and striking visual aids, which grab our students’ attention and provide a reference point for material covered in the lesson’s procedure. With the launch of the online Resource Center, we thought about how best to format our work into an engaging and interesting learning experience. Alice has always wanted us to film Ms. Cook doing a Chef Meeting or Mr. Geoff teaching an Opening Circle, and this year we had the opportunity to document our programming through a series of short videos, funded in full through the generous support of Robin Quivers’ 15 Foundation. Robin has been an incredible advocate for our work over the last year, and we are so grateful to her and her staff for their support in this project.
Our focus right now - other than teaching 1,000 middle school students every year – is to make it easier for edible educators to access resources for planning and implementing sustainable and innovative programs around the world. The goal of these videos is to bring some of our more complicated or unique lessons to life and make them available to people who aren’t able to walk through the garden and kitchen in person. As the seven videos are rolled out over the first weeks of school (you can view the first one here), we hope that viewers, no matter where in the world they are sitting, feel the warmth of the staff, the excitement and engagement of the students – and for a small window of time – the magnetism of our place of learning.