Among my many other claims to greatness, I’m currently the Mayor of Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard Chicken Coop on Foursquare (I know–it’s hard to believe I’ve been able to fit so much into one short life). The coop is a regular stop on our Saturday morning perambulation through the neighborhood with The Dog; his attention focuses alternately on the chickens, who I imagine look like tasty friends, and the many squirrels chasing through an adjacent live oak. The chickens are fascinating to me, too–mostly in that this group (about 15 chickens and two or three ducks) has, notwithstanding the occasional expiration, appeared to stay so healthy for so long.
Once upon a time, King Middle School, the local junior high school, had an overgrown, scrubby patch of broken asphalt at the eastern edge of its roughly 16-acre campus. In the early ’90s, the widely renowned Berkeley chef and food philosopher Alice Waters approached King about clearing the lot and planting an organic garden there. The project happened, and became known as The Edible Schoolyard (pictured above). All the kids at school get a chance to work in the garden as part of King’s curriculum, and the program is a widely lauded public school success story.
But the The Edible Schoolyard has become something else, too: a magnet for Class B (or maybe B+) celebrities. Maria Shriver, mate of Conan, was there last year. Senator Barbara Boxer stopped by once. So did Fred (Mister) Rogers (OK — he’s on my A celebrity list).
Kate and I noticed while we were out walking this morning that the streets around the school are off-limits to parking between 6 a.m. and midnight on Monday. Aloud, I wondered why. Kate remembered that Prince Charles, who reportedly has a deep interest in organic gardening, is dropping by the school tomorrow along with his comrade in arms Camilla. The duke and duchess of Cornwall within spitting distance (just an expression) of Holly Street. I’ve never gone out of my way to see a royal before — neither the hereditary ruler kind nor the pop culturish kind — but since they’re dropping in, I’m tempted to go look the Cornwalls over.