Gardening and Cooking Program

2020 Bonar Street, Berkeley, CA 94702
Tel: 510.486.9350 | Fax: 510.644.8815
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Jezra Thompson, Program Supervisor
Mia Villanueva, Program Coordinator


The Berkeley Public School Gardening and Cooking Program engages students with hands-on instruction in the garden. As part of the 2020 Vision and the District’s Integrated Wellness Policy, the Program is woven into student life District-wide to ensure the academic, physical, emotional, and social development of all students to affect three main areas of student learning from preschool through seventh grade:

Academic Achievement:

By utilizing a place-based, interdisciplinary, and experiential approach to the new academic standards, garden educators work closely with teachers to bring classroom learning to life in the garden.

Increased Health:

With support from community partners, we promote health and nutrition with opportunities to taste delicious fruits and veggies found growing in the garden. Teaching students that taking care of the land and your body allows for the development of multiple intelligences integral to whole child education.

Essential Life Skills:

Through placed-based learning, students gain valuable communication and collaboration skills, while building confidence as problem-solvers. Students practice cultural competence and language development as they cultivate positive relationships with the world around them and their peers.

We provide this collaborative education with a focus on consistency and practicality in 17 schools:

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

Garden-Based Learning Curriculum

We’ve developed a Garden-Based Learning Curriculum that connects the school gardens to classroom lessons. The curriculum builds upon many years of educating our students in the garden and scales up content across grades and lessons for instructional scaffolding. It is designed as an interactive teaching tool to be co-taught with classroom teachers and garden instructors as leads. Each lesson connects directly to standards: Next Generation Science, Common Core State, Physical Education, and Environmental and Health Education. Our concise and easy-to-follow lessons are a packed 45 minutes for preschool through fifth grade.

You can download a PDF copy of the complete curriculum here. You can order a print copy here, and a percentage of sales goes directly to supporting our work. Contact Jezra Thompson, the Program Supervisor, if you are interested in print copies of specific grades or in Spanish.


We report on Program events and updates, as well as revenue, at the end of every semester. Click on the links below for a brief Program history, an outline of our Garden-Based Learning Curriculum, and assessment projects and results.

Click here for our Fall 2015 Semester Report
Click here for our Spring 2015 Semester Report
Click here for our Fall 2014 Semester Report

School Lunch Initiative, A project of BUSD in collaboration with Chez Panisse Foundation (now known as the Edible Schoolyard Project) and the Center for Ecoliteracy, that looks at the connections between school lunch with student gardens, kitchen classrooms, and academic classrooms.

Fundraising Events

Thank you for celebrating a Garden-Based Education with us at our community fundraisers!
We had a successful Dine Out on February 18th!

We partner with local restaurants and businesses throughout Berkeley to co-host a food-filled day and night in support of a garden-based learning education for Berkeley Public Schools. We call this Berkeley Dine Out and encourage folks to dine out at participating restaurants, who in turn donate a percentage of sales directly to support garden education at all of our schools.

We report on all fundraisers in our Semester Reports. Please check out our Spring Semester Report, 2016 to learn more about our Berkeley Dine Out event held on February 18, 2016.

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.

Sustainability Projects We Facilitate

We lead District-wide initiatives for waste reduction and co-facilitate school site sustainability projects with the Facilities and Maintenance Departments, and with support from Green Schools Initiative and an Altamont Project Grant. We strive to incorporate sustainability concepts and practices into our Program and throughout the District.

News and Media

We’ve published the first district-wide garden-based learning curriculum for preschool through fifth grade.

We have a generous grant from the City of Berkeley through Measure D.

We partner with our Berkeley community and beyond to fill in the funding gaps with fundraisers.

We pilot new nutrition education projects.

Social Media


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