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‘Edible schoolyard’ debuts at P.S. 216

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A Brooklyn school is bringing fruits and vegetables into classrooms.

P.S. 216, 350 Avenue X, will be the first school in New York City to participate in the Edible Schoolyard program.

“This is a great opportunity for students at P.S. 216,” Principal Celia Kaplinsky said at a recent meeting of School District 21’s Community Education Council (CEC). “We hope this will become a model for other schools to follow.”

According to designers, “The Edible Schoolyard at P.S. 216 will be the first four-season example of the ESY program and the first in New York City. Its goal is to create a space in which the schoolchildren plant, harvest, prepare food and eat together, creating a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum.”

Teachers will incorporate literacy, science, social studies, math and the arts during garden workshops.

A new, self-sustaining educational building will be constructed on P.S. 216’s asphalt-covered parking lot. The building will house a quarter-acre organic farm, a kitchen classroom and a mobile four-season greenhouse.

Similar edible schoolyards already exist in Berkeley, California.

“This program gives District 21 an opportunity to have a showcase pilot program where children are learning by doing,” said state Assemblymember William Colton.

“This will promote healthy eating and a sense of responsibility for the environment,” Kaplinsky said. “This is going to change the lives of children.”

There are already Facebook and Twitter pages dedicated to covering the progress of the edible schoolyard. An official Web site,, has also been created.

There’s no word yet on when the edible schoolyard will be created, but sources say the project will move ahead soon.

The project is being funded with private donations. A full plan would be presented to the local community board prior to construction.

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