Buena Vista Edible Schoolyard
The Buena Vista Edible Schoolyard is a collaborative effort between the Grimm Family Education Foundation and the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District. The Foundation, whose mission is to close the achievement gap, graduating students at or above grade level in literacy and math, improve the health of students and families and create economic impact in the communities that we serve, provides fiscal and programmatic support for the principles taught at the Edible Schoolyard. We are able to serve a diverse and lively group of about 1,000 students from Buena Vista Elementary: Transitional Kindergarten through 6th grade, including the Special Day Classes. Thanks to the support of the District, our students have the privilege of participating in hands-on, 90-minute garden and kitchen lessons during regular school hours. Our staff recognizes the importance of teaching the BV students, who live and eat in an agriculturally dominated region, techniques of environmental stewardship and healthy eating choices. We cannot help but smile when we hear our students and their school administration proudly boast in the daily, high participation numbers at the lunch salad bar.
Our passion for inviting students to join in the work and conversations centered around food and health does not cease at the end of their school day. We hold a variety of events to strengthen the support and enhance the health of their larger community. Fall and Spring Family Cooking Classes provide opportunities for family members to visit the ESY kitchen after hours in interactive cooking experiences where they are able to learn new culinary techniques, taste flavorful dishes, and leave with an assortment of recipes. Family Garden Days are held each month, and students are able to come to the garden with their family members to plant, cultivate, harvest and work on projects in the garden. Our annual fundraiser, called the Plant Sale, transforms our site into a place for the community to learn more about our program, purchase plant starts and fresh wood-fired pizzas, and join in interactive garden tours led by 5th and 6th grade volunteers. We look forward to continuing our efforts in developing students’ understanding of the interconnectedness between human and environmental health.