My 6-day experience at the Edible Schoolyard Academy (ESY) is simply too big of a story to tell into one post so I’m breaking it all into my “take-aways.” The first is a principle of Alice Water’s that touches every part of the ESY program: we show students we love them by creating beautiful spaces for them to eat, learn, and live in. (Perhaps this applies to many/all areas of life?) Let me show you how this plays out…
We were welcomed by this booth at the opening reception…
…and fed things like this…
Freshly gathered and arranged flowers from the garden show up everywhere.
Notice the handmade “papel picado” strung across the classrooms (also in the kitchen classroom.)
I could go on posting my flower photos, but you get the idea.
This commitment to beauty is also seen on the handwritten, illustrated recipes used in the cooking class. (We even had a session with Chef Ester on how to whimsically illustrate a recipe.)
…and also in the signage for just about everything:
Even the placemats, which connected our meals to the 6-8th grade humanities lessons they teach—lessons also taught at their school.
At the end of each cooking lesson, students clear the workspace, set the table with a tablecloth, and then go to the side table (below) to pick out elements for a centerpiece.
Check out the sign! Enough said.This emphasis was encouraging to me because in the Julian Elementary Garden, one of our 8 components of our mission statement is: We grow beauty. As such, we have had lessons during which we transplanted donated irises to the front of the school with Miss Sally to beautify the parking lot, learned about flower shows and then picked daffodils for our local show in Julian Town Hall, and made wreaths and flower arrangements to place around campus. All of this takes time away from “edibles,” but I am reminded it’s incredibly important and we are right on track!