I wish I had made time to spend more time documenting the incredibly beautiful and diverse garden space at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley. Here are a couple of things that stuck out to me though:
I love the idea of including fruit trees in a school garden. So often, seasonal gardens are the main focus of an edible learning space but fruit trees can not only show an entirely different type of life cycle and provide some delicious food, but also grow with the school over years. Fruit trees could be a nice gift for each graduating class to give the school and students could come back to visit them for years to come.
Flowers were the first non-edibles in Springdale Park’s garden. We created a Pollinator Bed for our unit on pollinators and how they affect many of our edibles. The best side affect though – they’re just pretty (and that’s important).
To continue that thought, I’m not sure if the Edible Schoolyard has their own bee hives but they certainly have created a happy home for many bees (and butterflies and other pollinators). Witnessing this interaction daily is essential to students truly understanding the interdependence of species.
The Edible Schoolyard had a beautiful and productive greenhouse where students could propagate their plants and see the life cycle from the beginning.
Although I did not get to see the pizza oven in action, I heard about it more than once from kids on my “tours” through the garden. Rumor has it, their eighth grade unit will allow them to build a pizza from scratch using veggies from the garden and cooking it by the fire in their pizza oven. I may try to come back for that lesson…
Chickens and Ducks
Watching the students interact with the chickens and ducks wandering around the garden was certainly a highlight for me. They were so gentle and caring towards these creatures and were fascinated by their every move. There is so much to learn just by being surrounded by other beings like this.
The huge old trees are a huge asset to this garden – sure, they create shade that limits growing space but they give such a sense of time and place and provide some much needed shade to create a gathering place.
What struck me most about this garden space is that every student was so comfortable and confident in this space. They understood how they interact with the space (and the plants and animals that inhabit it) and they were eager to show me around what they truly understood to be THEIR garden.