As predicted, Caitlin Flanagan’s Atlantic article in which she slammed the concept of edible schoolyards as espoused by Alice Waters — and Flanagan grew up in Berkeley it turns out… the traitor! — has triggered a raft of rebuttals. Probably most amusing is the one written by Andrew Leonard in Salon yesterday:

What a nightmare! Public school Latino kids, sentenced to lives of outdoor drudgery, their dreams of upward mobility crushed by the elite machinations of foodie evangelists led by Alice Waters, the mastermind of Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard Project.

Read on here.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Compare budget, food service and educational programs of Berkeley Unified to Ventura Unified with their high percentage of farm workers kids.
    Without a parcel tax Ventura Unified has an edge over Berkeley in every category. They had both salad bars and home cooked cafeteria food for less cost to the students years before Waters programs. Ventura did not need a food policy committee or federal grants to support non- profits promotion of sensible choices.

    Ventura kids have more GATE instruction, music, science magnet school and alternative programs to choose from, again without a parcel tax.
    When ocean archeologist Ballard created the Jason Project which linked middle schools to interactive ocean research and curriculum, I personally went to the BUSD district supt of curriculum with the application for this free program which hundreds of schools participated in nationally. BUSD could not be bothered, even though the schools had the necessary computers and labs available.

    NPR produced a radio program about the results of the Jason Project specifically farm workers kids from the most disadvantaged schools. I was brought to tears listening to these kids command of science, interest in protecting the earth natural resources and desire to attend college in order to be the scientist capable of the task. It was particularly upsetting since as a parent I knew exactly what was going on in BUSD middle school science classes regarding content and student behavior.

    We pay more for less and the district is stuck in endless reforms which rarely deliver content improvements. Flanagan held up a mirror to Berkeley and some do not like what they see. Remember the Rep’s production of Yellow Jackets, once Berkeley kid makes good and writes a play chock full of insights into how Berkeley’s ideological frame needs adjusting .
    Is it safe to be a contrarian in Berkeley ?