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, the program is woven into student life district-wide to ensure the academic, physical, emotional, and social development of all students in 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 Semester Report
Click here for our Spring Semester Report

Fundraising Events

Celebrate Food Systems and Education at Our Annual Gala!

Thank you for joining us on May 1, 2015 at our Second Annual Gala. We celebrated the importance of teaching our kids about where their food comes from with generous support from local Berkeley businesses, Whole Foods Marketplace at Gilman and Telegraph, Mendocino Wine Growers Inc, Shrub & Co, Calicraft Brewing, Andronico’s Community Markets, Elmwood Cafe, Trumer Pils Berkeley, Westbrae Biergarten and Brazil Cafe, Moms Against Poverty, and many volunteers. You can relive the fun or get caught up if you missed the party by checking out the photostream.

Dine Out with Us!

Thank you for joining us on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 for the Valentine’s Wine Walk in the Gourmet Ghetto. We appreciate your support, and the support from all of the generous wineries and stores that donated their delicious products and time.

Thank you for joining us on Thursday, November 13, 2014 when 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.

Donate Now

Your financial gift will support our work in serving BUSD students with a garden-based learning education. Please consider giving to enhance this work for your students. You can send your check payable to: Attn: Jezra Thompson, Gardening & Cooking Program, 2020 Bonar Street, Berkeley, CA 94702. In the memo section of the check, please add “Gardening & Cooking Program.”

Social Media

Follow us on Twitter @BerkeleyDineOut
Like us on Facebook

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

Obama Signed A Climate Education and Literacy Initiative, December 3, 2014, FACT SHEET: Lifting America’s Game in Climate Education, Literacy, and Training.

“If you believe, like I do, that something has to be done on this, then you’re going to have to speak out. You’re going to have to learn more about these issues… You’ve got to educate your classmates, and colleagues, and family members and fellow citizens, and tell them what’s at stake.” — President Obama, June 2014, Remarks at the University of California-Irvine Commencement Ceremony

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

Signs of Growth, October 24, 2014, Alex Berryhill

Active Community Partners

Andronico’s Community Markets

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

Berkeley Public Schools Fund

Cancun Sabor Mexicano

Ecology Center

Edible Schoolyard Project, Berkeley

Elmwood Cafe

Green Schoolyards America

Green Schools Initiative

Jules Thin Crust Pizza

Moms Against Poverty

North Shattuck Association

Small Planet Institute

UC Berkeley Atkins Center for Weight and Health

UC Berkeley Student, Organic, Garden Association – SOGA

UC Berkeley Food Institute

Whole Foods Telegraph and Gilman

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