ARVIN, CA - Some Arvin students are learning in an interactive environment where text books and white boards are traded for recipes and fresh air. Students aren't just learning about food, they are participating in the preparation process from seed to plate.
A school bell at Grimmway Academy in Arvin lets students know it's time for the next lesson, but they're not heading to the classroom. This lesson is outside and it's hands-on.
"Planting, cultivating, composting and harvesting, we try to focus on those four things," said head garden teacher Emily Pfeiffer-Russel. She said the environment piques students' interests because it's different than learning in the classroom. "They're interested in it. They wash it, they weigh it, and then they get to present it to the kitchen as a present. Then they learn different ways of cooking it."
"There's tangible learning, hands on learning, happening and the lessons that they have in the classroom really come alive for the students for math, science, any subject really," said Kitchen Manager Raquel Jacquez.
Jacquez said the students are more invested in the interactive process. From the garden to the kitchen, students participate in every step.
"We take good care of it and then, when we eat it, we know that it's really healthy and that it's good for us to eat," said third grade student Rylee Abarquez.
This is the second school in Kern County to have an Edible Schoolyard program. Buena Vista Elementary School started their program in the fall of 2011. The program is modeled after Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard in Berkley. More than 1,700 schools around the world participate in some aspect of the project, but only about 300 of those have the kitchen aspect.