Brooklyn Schoolyard Gets Edible

Brooklyn is getting the first New York outpost of Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard program, reports The Times: this summer, supporters will begin converting the facilities of P.S. 216 in Gravesend to accomodate Waters’ program of integrated food, farming, and education.

In this month’s Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan wrote a strange and bitter screed against the Edible Schoolyard. But while Waters’ defenders swiftly rebutted her, Flanagan still figures heavily into conversation surrounding the Brooklyn school.

Staff members seem prepared to deal with this:

At P.S. 216, Principal Celia Kaplinsky dismisses criticism like Ms. Flanagan’s with a patient smile. She started her career teaching in Harlem more than 30 years ago and has three master’s degrees.

“Everything we do is interdisciplinary, and this will be no different,” she said. “It’s just a new dimension of teaching. It’s not an extra.”

But Flanagan’s general indignation really just distracts from some legitimate practical questions. Like, for instance, cost.

On the proposed new building:

It’s a $1.6-million architect’s dream. A new building, powered by the sun, will hold a kitchen classroom with communal tables where children can share meals they make from food they grow in the garden….

The P.S. 216 project will be not only the most expensive of the six Edible Schoolyards but also the only one to operate year round. The original, built 15 years ago at a middle school in Berkeley, Calif., cost about $75,000, Ms. Waters recalled.

Brooklyn Schoolyard Gets Edible