While most of our energy and time goes towards teaching children to make healthy connections through food and the natural world in our classes, events, and the care of our four school gardens, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans also seeks to contribute to the national movement of edible education through trainings, external advocacy, peer networking, and sharing resources with allied organizations. Our staff has had a few opportunities to participate on the national stage of edible education this year.
FESY Convening 2.0
The Founding Edible Schoolyards (FESYs), a consortium of programs Alice Waters assisted in founding, gathered virtually for our second convening this past January. The virtual setting allowed more members from each team to attend. We focused our sharing on what each organization has been working on in the wake of the pandemic and how we can best support each other. Launched by a compelling talk from Alice Waters on the transformative power of school lunch, the first day of the convening was an opportunity for each organization to share program pivots and successes, and their efforts toward racial justice. On the second day of the convening teachers and program staff attended sessions on garden and kitchen classes, curriculum, and training, while administrative sessions for program management staff focused on impact communications, case statements, virtual events, and digital campaigns. The event was captured in beautiful visual notes by Abby VanMuijen (below), and future convenings are in the works.
School Garden Support Organization Network Leadership Institute
The School Garden Support Organization (SGSO) Network is made up of organizations and individuals that support multiple school garden programs at a regional, school district, or state level. This year featured the SGSO Network Institute, which consisted of four week-long intensive virtual working groups. Regional SGSOs have emerged as a key determinant in the success and sustainability of school garden programs across the country. The institute is designed to give SGSO leaders the inspiration and information they need to support school garden programs in their regions effectively, and to share best practices with other programs nationally. This year, the topics of the working groups were program sustainability, high-quality lessons and sequences, strengthening equity and inclusion in garden education, and program assessment. Each working group had a focus on cultural relevance and racial equity and inclusion. ESYNOLA Program Manager Amelia Bird participated in the program assessment working group, and collaborated with staff from other organizations to review program impact communications from hundreds of SGSOs to pull strong examples and distill promising practices for a national audience. Results from the working groups (resource websites and webinars) can be viewed HERE.
Edible Education 101 at UC Berkeley
In the ninth semester of Edible Education 101, a series of public lectures organized by William Rosenzweig and Alice Waters, the lens is trained on social justice. The course description reads,
“The class sessions, readings, and assignments aim to guide students to develop food-systems intelligence—a personal understanding of how the diverse facets of the food system relate and depend on one another, especially one’s own role as a participant in the food system and how individuals and collective choices, actions, behaviors, policies, and public and private interests affect it.”
It’s truly an inspiring series in both its speakers and topics, including but not limited to:
- Nikoko Masumoto, Bryant Terry, and Rahanna Bisseret Martinez on the Cultural Power of Food
- Al Gore and Alice Waters on Food Systems and the Climate Crisis
- Elizabeth Hoover, Vincent Medina, Louis Tervino on Native Food Sovereignty and Decolonizing our Diets
- Dolores Huerta on Farmworkers and Rural Communities as the Backbone of our Food System
- Liz Carlisle and A-dae Briones on Land Justice, Land Tenure, and Barriers to Sustainable Agriculture
- Tiffany Patton, Mayukh Sen, and Tiffani Rozier on the Whiteness of Food Media and BIPOC Food Narratives.
To learn how to transform our food system from the ground up, check out the public lectures HERE.