The well-loved Garden and Cooking Program at Berkeley’s public schools has received critical support from the School Board and community. The programs at 14 Berkeley public schools are facing an uncertain future, due to $1.9 million per year in federal funding being cut (head to KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog for detailed background reading). The district has stepped up to partially fund the program, allocating $300,000 per year, for the next two years. This bridge funding will allow the program to continue at all school sites with a reduction in instructor time. It also allows the 15 years of infrastructure and resources developed by this program to stay intact. Teachers, parents and community members deserve recognition for their support after learning about the threat to the program this spring. Over 800 people signed a petition to the School Board, and a well-attended Dine Out event was organized to raise money in May.
The Garden and Cooking Program will need a long term plan to continue to provide Berkeley’s youth with effective nutrition education. The budget approved by the School Board also supports the salary for the Program Supervisor position, whose responsibilities include fundraising and working to generate a long term strategy to keep the program going. The district is hiring for that position now, with applications accepted until July 31, 2013. Community members who want this program to thrive should spread the word, as this position is key to the success of the Garden and Cooking Program. Interested candidates should click here for a position description and details to apply.