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Growing By Design

The world of design has some inspiring, environmentally driven artists who have made a true difference with their talents.

Designers that use their skill in combination with eco friendly undertakings to produce art and projects that give back in some way, through reducing waste or helping others, have more than just a physical ability.

However, inspirational missions aren’t just reserved for the exhibition spotlight. There are some outstanding examples of those who have taken their visions and turned them into proactive, meaningful events for children on their home front.

One such case is The Edible Schoolyard Project.

Nearly two decades ago, Alice Waters, a local resident of Berkeley, California who lived by Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School was not happy about the way the school appeared, stating that it looked as if no one even cared about it. The principal at the time, Neil Smith, had the idea to offer Waters a one acre plot by the school in an attempt to make a positive change for the school and neighborhood.

Knowing what would benefit the area’s children the most, Waters came up with the practical design of an edible schoolyard. Working with the school staff and diligent children, a community garden was created called the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley.

What began as a garden kept growing into more than just seasonal plots of produce, but a project that continues to offer educationally rich opportunities that foster healthy eating concepts in children.

The living space continues to provide nutrition and hands on learning, but is also a place to hold school and community events. The project also offers many resources, including information on developing similar project designs.

Student gardeners learn the value of agriculture, the benefits of fresh eating and the importance of conservation by learning about ecologically balanced ways to work with the land, like collecting and reusing rainwater. The garden’s layout continues to produce around 100 varieties of vegetables as well as herbs, flowers, berries and fruit trees.

Waters also instituted the Chez Panisse Foundation, which provides the opportunity for children to have real life practice in culinary and gardening environments, as well as making healthy foods available at school.

Planting the seed years ago that initiated so many beneficial supplements to children still continues to grow today, and resides in the care of students and devoted educators. Stable nutrition, which is crucial for learning, as well as the chance to be a part of a communally focused project is a lesson that can be kept and passed on at the same time.

Image Source: The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley

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