Metro Councilman Charlie Tygard and his fellow Bellevue trustees have launched a fund-raising effort to bring a so-called Edible Schoolyard to Bellevue Middle School.
The initiative would follow a pilot program started in Berkeley, Calif., by chef and organic food advocate Alice Waters. The Edible Schoolyard puts an organic garden under the care of students, who learn about gardening, healthy living and the science of food.
“It’s sort of the community garden concept, but at a local middle school and the kids plant, harvest and cook the food,” Tygard said. “And it’s all about curriculum that incorporates the garden into math, history and science.”
In July, Tygard and Bellevue leaders Tonya Jones, then-school board member Alan Coverstone and Kelly Hargis took a trip to Berkeley to study Waters’ Edible Schoolyard program. Waters was featured in a 60 Minutes story about her push to fight childhood obesity by promoting healthy eating habits.
Tygard said he didn’t have an estimate for how much it would cost to install the Edible Garden, but acknowledged it would probably require at least a seasonal or part-time staffer to oversee. Tygard also said teachers at Bellevue Middle would be consulted to gauge how the program could be incorporated into the classroom.
The group is starting a fundraising and planning initiative in the coming weeks and has launched a Web site to provide the community with more information.
Tygard said it was his hope that the Bellevue Edible Schoolyard could become a place where students from across the county could visit and study.
The proposal would take a plot of land on the Bellevue Middle property and bring both an organic garden and an “edible kitchen” to the school.
“It’s about growing garlic and then cooking a dish that uses garlic and learning about the benefits it has,” Tygard said.