By Nicole Breskin
GREENWICH VILLAGE — Next time you try the pork croquette with bitter greens at Gramercy Tavern, some of the herbs could be from a local public school.
P.S. 41 on W. 11th Street unveiled designs on Tuesday for a new $1.7-million rooftop “environmental literacy lab” that will have gardens, wildlife sanctuaries and learning spaces.
Teacher Vicki Sando, who developed the idea from her gardening classes at the school, told DNAinfo that the forthcoming herb garden — which will be cultivated by kindergarten through fifth graders — will likely provide key ingredients to some of Manhattan’s elite restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, the Manhattan staple owned by Danny Meyer.
“We’ll have basil, chives and rosemary,” said Sando. “We’re going to have a little of everything, but we’ll work with the restaurant to see what they use most.”
As part of lessons in agriculture and business, students will grow and harvest the herbs and sell them, albeit at a small profit, to top-notch local restaurants.
The partnership with Gramercy Tavern originated four years ago when a P.S. 41 parent asked the restaurant’s chef, Michael Anthony, to make guest lectures to a first grade food- and restaurant-themed class.
Four years later, Anthony has joined the class several times a year on vegetable scavenger hunts in the Union Square Greenmarket and for tours of his restaurant. And, according to his staff, he is happy to extend the partnership into his kitchen.
Anthony is currently overseas, in France. His assistant, Kaitlin Barthmaier, said: “We are open to being as involved as possible. Any way we can practically solidify the ideas for the students is great.”
Bobo, a restaurant situated in a West Village townhouse, also plans to receive herbs from the school. The owner, Carlos Suarez, sponsored a fundraiser for P.S. 41’s eco lab in 2008, and has been active in helping the project grow.
Construction of the lab begins in late spring. Garden seedlings will be harvested in spring 2011 for a full integration by fall 2011.
P.S. 41’s green lab was developed by school parent and alum Christopher Hayes, who hopes the new curricula developed out of the school will also promote urban agriculture in Manhattan.
“You can have fresh food that is nutritious and from the community,” said Hayes. “We hope to begin the mindset with the children that you can do this all closer to home.”