1005 Parker St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Jezra Thompson, Program Supervisor
The Berkeley Public School Gardening and Cooking Program is woven into student life District-wide to ensure the academic, physical, emotional, and social development of all students from preschool through high school. We engage all learners with hands-on instruction as they cultivate positive relationships with the world around them and their peers.
Our goal is to enable and inspire our diverse student body to achieve academic excellence and make positive contributions to our world!
17 School Gardens
2 CTE Public Health Programs
4 Kitchen Classrooms
Our Mission is to support these three pillars:
Academic Achievement: Garden and Cooking educators work closely with teachers to bring classroom learning to life in the garden with a place-based, interdisciplinary, and experiential approach to the academic standards.
Increased Health: 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: Students practice cultural competence and language development through project-based learning.
We’ve developed a Garden-Based Learning Curriculum, © Berkeley Unified School District, that directly supports academic learning and teaching goals for Next Generation Science and Common Core State Standards. Each lesson is designed to be an interactive teaching tool, co-taught with classroom teachers and garden instructors as leads. These hands-on lessons 1) connect academics to real-world experiences; 2) include all learners; 3) invite curiosity; and 4) provide opportunities for reflection. Each lesson is free for download on our website.
Every student is in the garden with full classes twice a month
You can download a PDF copy of the Second Edition Garden-Based Learning, published in September 2017, for preschool-kindergarten here, for first-third grades here, and for fourth-fifth grades here. You can also download our Monthly Recipes book here. Our 2021 Curriculum edition is coming soon.
– BUSD Classroom Teacher
– Garden Coordinator, Ukiah Unified School District.
– Seeds of Hope, Wilson, NC
We provide family cooking classes, CTE cooking classes during the school day, and after school classes. These hands-on lessons 1) reduce sugar intake; 2) increase vegetable, whole fruit, and water consumption; 3) engage creativity and responsibility; and 4) provide skill-building tools to last a lifetime. You can download our cooking and nutrition health and wellness curriculum and recipes here.
– Middle School Student
37% said they would reduce sugar intake after what they learned in our family class
Career Technical Education in Public Health
Students at Berkeley High School and Berkeley Technology Academy are offered courses in Career Technical Education (CTE) in Public Health. This year-long course focuses on career and learning opportunities for better understanding diet-related disease and local policy intended to curtail health inequities. Students practice communication and collaboration skills, while building confidence as problem-solvers.
Food Pantries are Available Free to the Public
Gardening and Cooking Program staff and students studying Public Health manage the high school food pantries in partnership with Berkeley Food Network. Together, we are able to provide fresh produce, ready made meals, and pantry items for free to our school and City community. Students get real-world experience working with the community on healthy food access and are paid as part of their Career Technical Education internship. The Berkeley Technology Academy food pantry is in service every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm at 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The Berkeley High School food pantry will begin service on October 5th this year on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 3:00-4:00 pm on MLK between Bancroft and Allston Way.
Reports and Special Committees
- Outdoor Learning Environments Working Group
- District’s Comprehensive Wellness Committee
- 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.
These projects are funded through a Healthy Berkeley grant and matching dollars from BUSD General Fund. Supporting projects are funded through generous grants from Extended Learning Opportunities, CTE, Farm 2 School, and with donations from our community.
Your financial gift will support our work in serving BUSD students in the gardens and kitchen classrooms. We rely on generous donations to provide additional support for innovative projects that uplift students’ learning. 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.”
Volunteer With Us
Volunteers are an important part of our work. 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 and specify that you’d like to volunteer with us.