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Lexicon of Sustainability

Watchword: Edible Education

Watchword: Edible Education
To draw attention to the best and brightest ideas in sustainability, the Lexicon of Sustainability's Food List project defines the words that are integral to a healthy, transparent, and accountable food system. Each week, we explore a new word through artwork, films, recipes, and written works. See all Food List words here. 

Edible Education: Famed French politician-turned-gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin once said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Sadly, for many living in the United States and other western countries, fatty diets based on heavily-processed ingredients mean only one thing: we’re unhealthy, and we’re passing it on to our children.

Thankfully, some chefs and educators are taking the challenge head on. Credited with bringing the slow food movement to the United States, Alice Waters turned from chef to sage in 1996 when she began the Edible Schoolyard Project, a Berkeley, California organization designed to teach children to plant, prepare, and partake of healthy food. Now, Edible Schoolyards can be found around the world. There are, in fact, almost 4,000 locations teaching some part of the Edible Schoolyard curriculum. 

Title: Experiential Learning
Location: City Roots Farm, Columbia, SC
Featuring: Robbie and Eric McClam, City Roots Farm

City Roots is the only urban farm in South Carolina growing food and providing an education and experiential outlet for their community. Robbie McClam and his son Eric converted an industrial-zoned brownfield site into City Roots in 2009. Since then, they’ve become a leader in the Columbia area, educating thousands of local youth through school tours and workshops. “As a society, we’ve lost touch with what seasonal availability and biodiversity mean,” Robbie says, “but through our presence we’ve taught others about building local food systems.”

Short film: "The Big Picture at the Edible Schoolyard"

By actively involving a thousand students in all aspects of the food cycle, The Edible Schoolyard is a model public education program that instills the knowledge and values we need to build a humane and sustainable future. The program is nationally recognized for its efforts to integrate gardening, cooking, and sharing school lunch into the core academic curriculum.

Recipe: Cornmeal Apple Griddle Cakes by Chef Ann Cooper

Here's a tried-and-true kid favorite infused with extra flavor and nutrition. Make these with your kids and turn the experience into a teachable moment, explaining where each ingredient comes from.   

How do you teach your children about the importance of a sustainable food system? Tell us in the comments below, and follow us for more on edible education throughout the week. 

For the past three years, the Lexicon of Sustainability has sought out the foremost practitioners of sustainability in food and farming to gain their insights and experiences on this important subject. What began as a photography project to spread their knowledge has grown to include short films, study guides, traveling shows, a book, and a website where people can add their own terms to this ever-evolving lexicon. See more at

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