The Edible Schoolyard: Where Students Grow Their Own Food


The school garden at P.S. 216 in Brooklyn. PHOTO: Kylie Freyman
The school garden at P.S. 216 in Brooklyn. PHOTO: Kylie Freyman

An edible garden growing at a school? Why yes, there’s one in Brooklyn! At PS 216, the Arturo Toscanini Primary School, students and teachers have the opportunity to work in their schoolyard garden. Kids at PS 216 learn about healthy diets and see how food grows, just like kids who grow up on farms.

Pioneered by Alice Waters, a famous chef and proponent of the organic food movement, the Edible Schoolyard program began at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, California. One of the PS 216 directors, John Lyons, brought this program to New York. Funded by local council members, private donors and foundations, the garden at PS 216 was started in October 2010 in the old school parking lot. The garden now grows flowers, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, garlic, cherries, carrots and lettuce…the list goes on! “Pretty much anything you can grow in the city of New York, you will find here,” says Ms. Cat, one of the garden’s teachers.

Students not only grow the food in the garden, but they also get to eat it! The fresh ingredients from the garden go into the student kitchen, where the students learn to prepare healthy snacks. Children also learn fun facts. For example, that dark leafy greens get sweeter as the weather outside gets colder.

Many people in the neighborhood help keep the garden growing, and you too can help! To become a volunteer, just contact the garden manager, Mirem Villamil, at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *