Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Edible Schoolyard - celebrating our planet and our kids

There will be lights switched off, leaky faucets fixed. There will be gardens dug, shorelines cleaned, and paper recycled.

But I can't think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to celebrate the Edible Schoolyard. What a marvelous way to affirm the continuity of life in our kids and our planet. To teach them to grow and eat plants, to care for the Earth while they care for themselves and their bodies.

The Edible Schoolyard is an initiative, a cookbook, and a huge dose of positive energy for public schools. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame literally dug up an asphalt lot in a Berkeley middle school and with the kids, planted a garden. The garden thrives, the kids tend to it, and eat from it.

We used to live about three blocks from it, and I'd walk there all the time. It's such a lovely garden. But it's also a beacon to me. When I lived in DC, I saw an article about this in I think Audobon magazine while I was on the treadmill. I nearly burst into tears because of how happy and earnest and idealistic and lovely it all was. These urban kids cared about where their food comes from, and who grows it and how it grows. Warmed my heart at least as much as the treadmill. So I knew I had to move back.

I'm so glad I did. I plan on supporting this initiative not only when my kids are old enough to benefit, but right now by visiting the garden, the website-- and spreading the word.