Jake Gyllenhaal: newly elected Ambassador for the Edible Schoolyard program.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has joined the Chez Panisse Foundation as an Ambassador for Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard program.

Gyllenhaal, who is currently baring more than his good conscience alongside an equally naked Anne Hathaway in the newly released movie Love and Other Drugs, will bring some Hollywood wattage to the Berkeley-based program which teaches students in schools across the country how to grow and cook their own food.

Gyllenhaal’s appointment represents the launch of an Ambassador program for the Edible Schoolyard, which until now has limited its celebrity affiliations to its Advisory Board. “We are excited that Jake Gyllenhaal will be helping us fundraise and spread our message,” said Foundation spokesperson David Prior. Prior added that there is no word yet on who, if anyone, might join the actor as fellow ambassadors.

In a statement, Gyllenhaal said he had long admired Alice Waters’ work. “I  care deeply about helping children better their health, communities and environment… The Chez Panisse Foundation is not only offering an education that students will benefit from for the rest of their lives, but they’re a leading force in the movement to change the future of this country’s youngest generations.”

Alice Waters, meanwhile, said: “We are so lucky to have someone so charismatic and thoughtful who cares deeply about the philosophy of Edible Education. As an acclaimed actor, Jake has the ability to help us reach people in communities all around the world.”

The Edible Schoolyard’s star-studded Advisory Board includes names such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Frances McDormand, Bette Midler, Jamie Oliver, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep.

It’s worth noting, for the record, that when Gyllenhaal visited Berkeley recently — perhaps to close the deal with Waters — he chose to eat on a daily basis not at the hallowed tables of Chez Panisse, but rather across the street at the slightly more down to earth Café Gratitude.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...