Modern life can feel crazy busy – as every youth activity demands more time commitment at younger ages – at the same time that work demands on parents have increased a lot since our parents’ generation. Families with kids weave their way through hyper-scheduled weeks, longing for the sanctuary of a shared family dinner and feeling increasingly time-pressed to make it happen.
Enter gatheredtable, where our goal is to make homemade meals easier for busy people. If you’ve got kids, we think you should get them helping in the kitchen too. This, and our dedication to furthering the food movement, led us to a partnership with The Edible Schoolyard Project (ESYP) wherein we give them 1% of all of our profits.
ESYP was founded in Berkeley, CA by Chez Panisse restaurant founder Alice Waters. Chez Panisse catalyzed the revolution in American food by creating delicious meals that redefined “fancy” – they were divine yet simple, featuring fresh, seasonal and often local ingredients from sustainable farmers, ranchers and producers. ESYP works nationally to create and promote edible educational programs for children in kindergarten through 12th grade with that same premise: real, fresh, seasonal food is not only healthy, but delicious. Their programs have shown that by teaching children to grow and prepare their own produce, they are more likely to enjoy the food and be aware of their options.
I recently had the privilege to attend a Family Cooking Class run by the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley, CA. This program integrates food education and cooking skills into core history, art and science courses at King Middle School. Families come together, learn about various ingredients (most of which are picked fresh from the garden), practice cooking methods, and work together to create family dinners, all from scratch. I took part in a Mexican-inspired dinner, where we made guacamole, Spanish rice, fresh masa tortillas, and garden lettuce salads.
A 7 year old told me I needed to “add more water to my masa dough otherwise it would dry out,” and another 12 year old commented that I needed to “press harder on the tortilla press otherwise they would never grill right”. I watched in amazement as these children cheerfully served as patient teachers to their parents and older siblings, demonstrating an ease in the kitchen borne of their ESYP experience. Thanks to Liza, Mr. Nick, all the wonderful staff members and volunteers, and the families from that night for letting me gather at your table.
Have more questions about gatheredtable? Leave us a message below!
Wan to learn more about The Edible Schoolyard Project? Check out their site and some of our favorite links below:
ESYP’s Tomatillo Salsa (EYSP).
Alice Waters named one of the Top 100 people in 2014 (TIME).
No Lunch Left Behind, Alice Waters & Katrina Heron (NYT).
Alice Waters: 40 Years of Sustainable Food (NPR).
Edible Schoolyard and Alice Waters (TIME).