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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Thank you to all that joined us for our 1st Gala in support of the Gardening Program!


With generous support from local Berkeley businesses, Whole Foods, Andronicos, Mendocino Wine Association, Cali Craft, Pyramid Brewing, Chancellor’s Office, and the many volunteers, we hosted an evening gala to celebrate the gardening education in Berkeley’s Public Schools. We invited the Berkeley community and beyond to join us for farm to table fare, drinks, music from the Willard and King Middle School Ensemble to learn more about our program, the student connection, and community relationships. We invited the well known author and contributor to many books on sustainable food systems, Anna Blythe Lappé, a founding principal of Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund, as well as Ann Thrupp, the new Executive Director of the Food Institute in UC Berkeley, to share some inspiring words on food systems and education and the importance of connecting student learning with real world experiences around food and the environment. Check out the wonderful event here.


Gardening and Cooking Programs

The BUSD Gardening and Cooking Program (GCP) engages students in hands-on instruction with gardening and cooking lessons. The program is woven into academic life district-wide to ensure the academic, physical, emotional, and social development of all students in BUSD. The GCP supports BUSD’s 2020 vision to close the achievement gap with an interdisciplinary curriculum that connects the academic classroom to the school gardens to affect three main areas of student development from pre-kindergarten through graduation.

Academic Achievement: By utilizing a place-based, interdisciplinary, and experiential approach to the new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, the GPC works closely with classroom teachers and principals to bring classroom learning to life in the gardens. This approach allows for the success of multiple intelligences as it connects core academic concepts to student life in a meaningful way.

Increased Health: We teach students that taking care of the land and knowing where our food comes from is just as important and intimately connected to science, reading, writing, and arithmetic. The GPC presents an integrated curriculum that promotes health and nutrition as part of the academic curriculum with opportunities to prepare nutritious and delicious snacks with produce found growing in the garden.

Essential Life Skills: The GCP infuses the school day with the simple pleasures of growing, harvesting, preparing, and enjoying delicious seasonal snacks with their community. Through hands-on work in gardens, students gain valuable communication and collaboration skills, while building confidence as problem-solvers. Through the celebration of food across cultures and a commitment toward well-being, students practice cultural competence as they cultivate positive relationships with the world around them and their peers.


Kitchen Classrooms

Emerson John Muir Le Conte Jefferson
Rosa Parks Thousand Oaks Washington Berkeley Arts Magnet
Longfellow Willard

Garden Classrooms

Emerson John Muir Le Conte Malcolm X
Rosa Parks Thousand Oaks Washington Willard
B-Tech Oxford ECE Berkeley High School

Fundraising Events

The Berkeley Public School Gardening and Cooking Program is hosting two fundraisers, Dine Out on Tuesday, May 13th and a gala evening event on Saturday, June 7th.

Our 2nd Berkeley Dine Out fundraiser will be May 13, 2014. This event helps us raise awareness about the importance of a school garden education, and connects us to local businesses and community members that have shown their tremendous support. Last year, over 40 local food establishments and customers helped us raise $25,000 for the program. Dine Out with us at participating restaurants and a percentage of your bill will go towards supporting this program. Learn more here:

Our evening Gala will be an event held at a lovely West Berkeley location with a lively discussion, a silent auction, delicious food and drink, music, and more! With generous support from Whole Foods, Andronicos, the Berkeley Public School Jazz Band, local Berkeley businesses, local brewing companies, and regional wineries, we are thrilled to be facilitating a conversation on the topics of education and food systems, including ideas about connecting student learning with real world experiences around food and exploring topics on health, wellness, and personal and community growth. Tickets are on sale for $100 for one and $600 for a table of six. Tickets are available for purchase after April 7, 2014, via Brown Paper Tickets here:

We are committed to providing these exploratory educational experiences to Berkeley students in our cooking and gardening learning laboratories and we can’t do it without your help. For more information about these events and how to donate to the Night Out auction, please contact Jezra Thompson with any queries and interests. Please consider making a donation of an auction item today.

Follow us on Twitter @BerkeleyDineOut

Past events:


What’s Happening

We are working with the Berkeley Public School community to re-envision a sustainable Cooking and Gardening Program. You can watch the presentations and follow the discussions 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


Volunteer With Us

Volunteers are an important part of the Gardening and Cooking Program and 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. We are always looking for help in the school gardens and kitchen classrooms, whether it is garden maintenance, teacher support, or event assistance. If you are interested in supporting the Gardening and Cooking Program with your volunteer time, please visit 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, the CGP will be provided with your certification to work with students.


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:

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

Board Presentation on Plan for Sustainable Gardening and Cooking Funding – May 8, 2013


East Bay Express Community matters

April 7, 2014

Berkeley schools’ edible program faces challenges

November 11, 2013 1:00 pm by Frances Dinkelspiel

Berkeley raises funds for schools’ edible program

November 14, 2013 7:00 am by Tracey Taylor

Berkeley: Budget cuts slam school gardening and cooking program

By Doug Oakley, Oakland Tribune

Berkeley district votes to fund at-risk edible programs

April 12, 2012 10:51 am by Sarah Henry

Research verifies importance of school food program

September 23, 2010 2:59 pm by Lance Knobel



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