It’s been a while since we checked in with the folks over at the Edible Schoolyard, an experimental educational program to bring children closer to their food sources. The program launched with private and public funds at P.S. 216 (350 Avenue X) in October, and in good time it began looking mighty lush.
The verdant schoolyard is full of fruits, vegetables and herbs, and a stroll through its narrow, mulch-covered path is more reminiscent of a trip to a national parkland than a New York City playground. But a playground it is, tended to by students, teachers and their families.
The schoolyard launched, touting plans to help raise funds by selling their produce to the public, and that program has finally kicked off. Every Thursday while the harvest lasts, they’ll be hosting a small farmer’s market, with goods plucked straight from the ground. Tables will hawk the goods from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., giving a narrow window to get some of the freshest goods available in Gravesend.
Available at the market this season is eggplant, lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, flowers, radishes, tomatoes, a variety of herbs and more.
“Everything is grown and harvested by the summer program here, and originally planted by the students,” said Vera Fabian, the head garden teacher. The summer program invites families of P.S. 216 students to tend the grounds during the recess months, and enjoy a meal made from the produce.
John Lyons and Jake Gyllenhaal help children plant the first tree in the garden.
The Edible Schoolyard, an experimental educational program to bring children closer to their food sources, has officially launched its first New York City location at P.S. 216 at 350 Avenue X, with a dedication this morning that brought educators, activists, politicians and celebrities to Gravesend.
Construction began on the $1.6 million project in September, and this morning children played and planted, kicking the smell of dirt and wood-chips into the air. Media and parents flocked around them snapping photos and taking video, following a half-hour of speeches from some of the project’s backers.
Film producer John Lyons oversaw the day’s events, introducing the Edible Schoolyard founder (and renowned chef) Alice Waters, Councilman Dominic Recchia, Borough President Marty Markowitz, P.S. 216’s Principal Celia Kaplinsky and Christiane Baker, executive director of the Edible Schoolyard New York project. [Video of speeches after the jump.]
Sitting in the front row was friend to the project Jake Gyllenhaal, the Oscar-nominated actor who has been helping raise funds for the citywide initiative.
Organizers are hoping to have Edible Schoolyard projects in 25 schools in New York City, and at least one in every borough. Councilman Recchia, who is going to stay involved in the project and helped direct $1 million towards it, said no other sites have been chosen yet. For more on the Edible Schoolyard project, visit the website.
P.S. 216′s Edible Schoolyard dedication: videos and photo gallery.
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With work starting on P.S. 216′s $1.6 million Edible Schoolyard in Gravesend, organizers are doing their best to make sure neighbors are informed of the process.
The letter at left is posted on the fence. Of the construction, it says, “We are in the process of building a half-acre organic garden where we will grow a variety of vegetables, fruit and grains. This space also will include a mobile four-season greenhouse and kitchen classroom.”
It also goes on to let neighbors know the goals of getting children to “make the connection between food, health and how the Earth sustains us.”
Early plans for the project mentioned that some of the produce may be sold to the community, and if true, this would have been the perfect place to tout that. But we haven’t heard much about that since their presentation to Community Board 15 oh-so-long ago, so it may not be concrete.
Thanks to Allan B. for catching this.
Photo by Allan B.
Construction is underway on the asphalt grounds of P.S. 216 in Gravesend, making way for an experimental “edible schoolyard” that has been planned for more than a year.
The $1.6 million project will turn a half-acre of the yard into a garden, greenhouse and a kitchen classroom for students to get more connected with their foods. Teachers will design curriculum in just about every subject – from math and sciences, and on to the humanities – that will explore different aspects about growing and eating healthy foods.
Keep reading to find out about P.S. 216′s Edible Schoolyard initiative.