Chapter: 
1
Our Vision
We envision gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms and a sustainable, delicious, and free lunch for every student.

At the Edible Schoolyard Project, we have worked for more than 20 years to cultivate and embody our mission – and ensure an edible education for every public school student in the United States. 

Research shows that when schools prioritize health and social well-being in tandem with academic goals, and extend their mission to involve families and surrounding communities, students thrive.

Edible education shapes students' choices at mealtime, and roots them in the relationship between humans and the natural world.


1. WHAT IS AN EDIBLE EDUCATION? 

Our principles lay out the transdisciplinary pedagogy of our whole-child – and whole-school – approach to equity and learning in kitchens, gardens, lunchrooms, and classrooms. 

1. Food is the perfect teacher.

Every discipline—math, science, the humanities—comes to life in the learning laboratory of a garden or kitchen classroom. In the lunchroom, teachers and cooks alike use daily meals to feed students’ minds as well as their bodies.

2. Children learn by doing.

The hands-on experience of growing and preparing food teaches students the value of real work, collaboration, and caretaking. Social responsibility and stewardship become deeply personal. 

3. Children learn with all their senses.

When children’s senses are awakened and educated—and they can taste, smell, touch, hear, see—they experience the world around them with new richness and complexity.

4. Children thrive in nature.

When children grow food, cook, eat together, and return nutrients to the soil, they come to respect and appreciate their interconnectedness with the cycles of life.

5. Good food is a right, not a privilege.

When public schools make a free, delicious, organic school lunch for every student, we not only address the critical social inequities of hunger and obesity, we truly nourish every child.

6. Schools and sustainable farms support each other.

A sustainable set of criteria for buying school food means investing in the local economy and community. This reinforces children’s understanding of where their food comes from and how important it is for human beings to take care of the land, for the future of the planet.

7. The cafeteria is the heart of the school.

Every day, students discover how the ritual of eating together at the table expresses the essential values of nourishment, stewardship, and communication.

8. Beauty is a language of care.

Beauty communicates to students that we value them. An environment where careful thought has gone into everything, from the colors on the walls to the plates on the tables, communicates to children the practice of noticing and cultivating beauty in their lives and the world. They feel valued and understand what it means to give others that gift.


2. MODELING THE MISSION  

Our model realizes the vision of Alice Waters. A garden and kitchen classroom, fully integrated into the academic experience and culture of a public school, where food is at the center of the school day.

The Edible Schoolyard program places students at the center of their learning. Our teaching practices foster creativity, collaboration, and resilience, connecting students to their senses and humanity.

Students learn where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their health, communities, and the environment.

EXPLORE THE MODEL


3.  GROWING A GLOBAL MOVEMENT 

We inspire, train, and support communities around the world as they develop powerful edible education programs of their own.

As a capacity-building organization, our goal is not to prescribe a one-size-fits-all strategy or methodology. We guide Edible Schoolyard Training participants to root their work in shared standards of practice and justice, responsive to the culture and realities of their schools and communities. 

TRAIN WITH US