Before I visited the Berkeley Edible Schoolyard, I had fairly low expectations. I thought it was an interesting program, but I was skeptical. In my past experiences with observing similar programs, I have been disappointed because they have not been entirely successful.
Within the first ten minutes of hearing the woman speak about the program and the kids’ involvement, most of my expectations were exceeded. I was impressed with the facilities of the kitchen, and the layout and upkeep of the garden. I was surprised by the organization of the schoolyard, from color-coded tools to agendas written out for students. It was also nice to see the kids learning to become most self-sufficient, and leaning life skills. I think this program is very sturdy, and does wonders for the students and the school as a whole.
One thing I learned about the program that I did not realize before is that they incorporate animals into their program. I think this is a valuable lesson to help kids understand where their eggs and meat come from by creating relationships with chickens.
I would have liked to spend more time in the kitchen to observe their cooking program. From just walking around, it looked like the kids were enjoying themselves and having fun learning. I think the most impressive aspect of the program was the enthusiasm from both sides, the administrators and the students. I got the idea that the students look forward to the class, and the class has grown to make the school a better place.