On Tuesday morning, in celebration of Chez Panisse's 40th anniversary, the Today show's Jenna Bush Hager yes, that Jenna Bush paid a visit to The Hunters Point Boys & Girls Club Edible Schoolyard to talk shop with Alice Waters and a special guest: Hollywood heartthrob Jake Gyllenhaal.
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Since 1996, the Chez Panisse Foundation has championed the Edible Schoolyard an organic garden and kitchen project that teaches students about health, ecology and sustainable food systems at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Berkeley. And now, Edible Schoolyards are spreading to San Francisco, New York, New Orleans and other cities. Gyllenhaal, a devout social activist and environmentalist, joined the Chez Panisse Foundation board last year, and has since used his star status to spread the word.
"I grew up around gardens, growing my own food, and that was a real source of community growing up," said Gyllenhaal to Bush Hager. "More than anything, I really got to know my mother and father and my sister, and they got to know me at the dinner table."
In the segment, students worked in the garden with Gyllenhaal, before hauling the harvest into the kitchen to cook with Waters. Bush Hager asked Waters about the changes she's noticed in the students over the course of the program: "They really feel kind of empowered," she explained. "When kids grow it and cook it, they all want to eat it."
Case in point: students at the project are shown harvesting, cooking and eating kale, carrots, cucumbers and other vegetables at a community table. In the video, Waters encouraged parents of all socioeconomic backgrounds to ask questions about what their children are being served at school. "It's really important that we speak up," she said.
The overall goal? To someday have an edible schoolyard in every school.
Watch Waters, Gyllenhaal and the Edible Schoolyard Project on the Today Show below:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the segment was filmed at the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley. It was actually filmed at the Hunters Point Boys & Girls Club in San Francisco.