Michael Pollan. Photo: Ken Light

When word leaked out in the spring that Michael Pollan would be co-teaching a class on the rise and future of the food movement, students at UC Berkeley rushed to sign up. The 10-week, two-unit course was filled minutes after it was listed online.

Now, the general community has a chance to participate in this gold rush.

UC will be releasing tickets for Edible Education 101 on a first-come, first-serve basis on August 15. There will be about 282 tickets available for each class and people will be able to sign up for just one lecture or all of them, said Carolyn Federman, director of development for the Edible Schoolyard, which is co-sponsoring and paying for the course. The tickets will be free and will be sold through Ticketweb, she said.

Pollan is co-teaching Edible Education 101 with Nikki Henderson, the executive director of People’s Grocery, a food justice organization in Oakland. While Pollan and Henderson are the co-teachers, much of the class will center around lectures given by luminaries in the food movement. Confirmed speakers include Carlo Petrini, Peter Sellars, Marion Nestle, Frances Moore Lappé, Raj Patel, Ann Cooper, Eric Schlosser, and Alice Waters.

The class will be held Tuesdays from 6-7:30 pm in Wheeler Auditorium, which seats about 732 people. Four hundred of those seats will be for enrolled students and 50 will be held for VIPs, course planners, and others, according to Alix Schwartz, UC’s director of academic planning. The remainder will go to the general public.

Pollan is a Knight professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, so this class is a great opportunity for undergraduates to study with him, said Schwartz.

“To be exposed to this material – it’s great for undergraduates,” she said.

The class is also part of the 40th anniversary celebration of Chez Panisse restaurant. The Chez Panisse Foundation — which will change its name to the Edible Schoolyard Foundation in the fall — is footing the $30,000 cost for the class, said Schwartz.

It is the first time that UC has held a class that brings together students and members of the community, she said. There is a class on race at Cal that is made up of students and staff, but no other course with those outside the system.

The first lecturer on August 30 will be Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food movement. He will speak in Italian, so there will be a translator.

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...