Gardening and Cooking Program

Jezra Thompson, Program Supervisor
Mia Villanueva, Program Coordinator
2020 Bonar Street
Berkeley, CA 94702
Phone:  510-486-9350
Fax:  510-644-8815

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Gardening and Cooking Programs

The Berkeley Public School Gardening and Cooking Program (GCP)

engages students with hands-on instruction in the garden. As part of the 2020 Vision, the program is woven into student life District-wide to ensure the academic, physical, emotional, and social development of all students in BUSD. Our forthcoming interdisciplinary Garden-Based Learning Curriculum connects the academic classroom to the school gardens to affect three main areas of student learning from pre-kindergarten through seventh grade:

Academic Achievement: By utilizing a place-based, interdisciplinary, and experiential approach to the new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, garden educators work closely with teachers to bring classroom learning to life in the garden. This approach allows for the success of multiple intelligences as it connects core academic concepts to whole child education.

Increased Health: We teach students that taking care of the land and your body, and knowing where our food comes from is important and intimately connected to our educational lives. The inclusive and expansive curriculum promotes health and nutrition as part of the academic curriculum with opportunities to taste delicious fruits and veggies found growing in the garden.

Essential Life Skills: Through placed-based learning, students gain valuable communication and collaboration skills, while building confidence as problem-solvers. Through the celebration of food across cultures and a commitment to well-being, students practice cultural competence as they cultivate positive relationships with the world around them and their peers.


School Gardens

Early Child Education School Gardens
King, Hopkins, and Franklin

Elementary School Gardens
Emerson, John Muir, LeConte, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Thousand Oaks, Washington, Oxford, Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier, Cragmont, Jefferson.

Middle School Gardens
Willard and Longfellow

High School Gardens
Berkeley Technology Academy


Fundraising Events

Dine Out with Us!

On Thursday, November 13, 2014 we partnered with generous local restaurants throughout Berkeley to co-host a wonderful food-filled day and night in support of a garden-based learning education for Berkeley Public Schools. We will have another Dine Out on May 21, 2015. Participating restaurants will be listed below on an ongoing basis, so please refer back to this list. If you are a restaurant and want to participate in Dine Out, thank you! Please email Mia at


A Valentine’s Taste of North Shattuck!

Join us on February 11, 2015 for a leisurely love-filled evening of treats, sweets, and wine in full Berkeley spirit. We will partner with the North Shattuck Association and many generous restaurants, eateries, and boutiques along the North Shattuck Corridor for a taste-sational stroll.


Celebrate Food Systems and Education at Our Annual Gala!

This spring on April 10, 2015, we will celebrate food systems and education at our second annual gala held at the Ed Roberts Campus from 6:00-9:00 pm. We had so much fun at our first gala last year that we decided to do it again this year with generous support from local Berkeley businesses, Whole Foods Marketplace at Gilman and Telegraph, Mendocino Wine Growers Inc, Westbrae Biergarten, local craft brewers, and many volunteers. You are cordially invited to join us at this festive Berkeley community event for seasonal farm-to-table fare, regional drinks, and music from award winning Berkeley High School Jazz musicians. Stay tuned to learn more and for links to buy tickets.


Social Media

Follow us on Twitter @BerkeleyDineOut


Volunteer With Us

Volunteers are an important part of our work. They help inspire the many students who tell their parents and friends about the tasty veggies they tried in the garden and the seeds they planted in the dirt. Whether it is garden maintenance, instructional support, or event assistance, please consider volunteering your time by visiting the Berkeley Public Schools Fund to fill out the form for volunteering at one of our 16 school sites. Once this form is filled out, you will be contacted to attend a volunteer training and will be required to get fingerprints–paid for by BPSF. We will be provided with your certification to work with students and you will be notified of your placement.


Donate Now

Your financial gift will support our work in serving BUSD students in the garden and kitchen classrooms.  Please send your check payable to:

Cooking & Gardening Program, 2020 Bonar Street, Berkeley, CA 94702. In the memo section of the check, please add “Cooking & Gardening Program”


Learn More About Us

Join us on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Westbrae Biergarten on Gilman St from 4:30-7:00 pm. Every $1 you spend on a 1 liter Trumer Pils stein will be donated to us. Get to know your teachers, garden educators, and school communities in a casual environment at one of our local supporting businesses.

Change is Uncomfortable Blog, by Jezra Thompson, republished in Berkeley Times

We are still trying to get full financial support from the School Board. Watch past presentations with the School Board via the links below. For additional program proposals, please visit the School Board tab above.

March 26, 2014

March 12, 2014

February 19, 2014


Active Community Partners

Whole Foods Telegraph and Gilman

Ecology Center

Small Planet Institute

UC Berkeley Atkins Center for Weight and Health

UC Berkeley Student, Organic, Garden Association – SOGA

UC Berkeley Food Institute

Edible Schoolyard Project, Berkeley

Berkeley Public Schools Fund

Green Schools Initiative

Bay Cities Produce Co., Inc donates seasonal and fresh produce to our school gardens for student tastings in loving memory of Albert DelMasso.

Westbrae Biergarten

North Shattuck Association

Jules Thin Crust Pizza

Cancun Sabor Mexicano



We have published our first garden-based learning curriculum that connects Next Generation Science and English Language Arts Standards to the garden. We are working with the Atkins Center for Weight and Health on an assessment of our curriculum implementations to support amending each lesson to be a better teaching tool. Reports on how we’re doing will be shared with the community at School Board meeting presentations. We will republish this pilot curriculum and will make it available to the public next year.

An Evaluation of the School Lunch Initiative, Sept 2010, Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California Berkeley:


In The News

Signs of Growth, October 24, 2014, Alex Berryhill

Berkeley schools’ edible program faces challenges, November 11, 2013, Frances Dinkelspiel

Berkeley raises funds for schools’ edible program, November 14, 2013, Tracey Taylor

Berkeley district votes to fund at-risk edible programs, April 12, 2012, Sarah Henry

Research verifies importance of school food program, September 23, 2010, Lance Knobel

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