In September 2009, Larchmont Schools launched their Edible Schoolyard (ESY) program as an affiliate of the Chez Panisse Foundation. Larchmont became one of only a handful of schools nationwide to have been handpicked by Alice Waters to help revolutionize the way children think about food, farming, community, and the environment.
Waters is a chef and activist who considers food a vehicle for social change. She believes that if Americans would choose seasonal, organic food grown sustainably, and eat together at a common table, we could, as a nation, begin to restore family values, rebuild our communities and take better care of our environment.
She believes the place to begin this change is with children, in public schools.
The Edible Schoolyard program is a work in progress. No two schools interpret the philosophy in exactly the same way. We are part of a massive and exciting experiment that is being studied and watched across the country.
ESY at Larchmont Charter School
Eco-literacy, stemming from both the physical and social sciences, is a core philosophy of our charter at Larchmont Charter School. The Edible Schoolyard program promotes the tenets of eco-literacy by teaching children to garden, and illustrating for them actual biological systems and the interconnectedness of our natural world. Children help to prepare, serve, and eat local seasonal food. In the process, they awaken their senses, learn about nutrition, help to build a community, and begin to take personal responsibility for the physical earth and the social community.
The lessons of the Edible Schoolyard are woven through every aspect of the curriculum. First, ESY creates a rich environmental and biological science program at the elementary and secondary level. Second, it allows for an integrated curriculum across many academic areas, including social studies and math. Third, ESY supports Larchmont’s constructivist project-based curriculum through integration across the academic curriculum and hands-on activities in the garden and kitchen. Finally, ESY provides a delicious and nutritious hot lunch program for all of our students at all four campuses.
The School Garden
All students, K-5, have garden and kitchen classes weekly. There, they learn about science and biology, as well as practical skills such as how to compost, collect soil samples, and grow and care for plants.
In 6th-8th, students have elective class options in the areas of garden and kitchen.