Anchor House Cultivates Opportunity, Connection, and Healthy Food

June 7, 2021

Anchor House Cultivates Opportunity, Connection, and Healthy Foods.

UC Berkeley’s first donor-funded housing since 1942, Anchor House will be much more than a dormitory when it opens in 2024. By prioritizing housing for transfer students, generating revenue for scholarships, and providing unique opportunities for developing life skills — including a healthy relationship to food — Anchor House makes an important contribution to cultivating a more inclusive and vibrant campus culture. 

The facility’s amenities include a teaching kitchen and a 1,000-square-foot rooftop garden that will serve the Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) and the Rausser College of Natural Resources (RCNR) as well the nearly 800 students who will live there. 

“The new teaching kitchen space within the Anchor House will fill a critical need on campus,” says Nina F. Ichikawa ’00, the BFI’s executive director who was herself a transfer student. “We look forward to inviting local chefs and food producers to share their wisdom with us, while breaking bread together.”

Alice Waters ’67, founder of Chez Panisse restaurant and the Edible Schoolyard Project, has also expressed her admiration for Anchor House’s potential to serve food security and sustainability goals while providing essential new student housing. The facility’s rooftop garden was inspired by the Edible Schoolyard Project’s garden at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley.

“Students and residents will be encouraged to engage their senses in the garden, to see and understand how food is grown, and to participate in the planting and upkeep of the garden,” says Waters. “This edible landscape will be an extension of the teaching kitchens below, a place where students will absorb the values  of stewardship, nourishment, diversity, and community.”

Dean David Ackerly and faculty in the Rausser College of Natural Resources’s programs in dietetics and nutritional sciences have also expressed their enthusiasm for the teaching kitchen, which will play an important role as the college develops new programs. At a time when the RCNR is working to expand its degree offerings, the new kitchen will be a welcome change from the college’s existing site in Morgan Hall, which was built in 1953. In a letter of support for the project sent to the UC Regents, Dean Ackerly, Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics Mikelle McCoin, and Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Toxicology Hei Sook Sul noted that the new teaching kitchen will be “a symbolic and literal anchor...for learning, research, entrepreneurship, innovation, and fun.” 

Created with the support of a generous donor, Anchor House takes a sustainable and generative approach to finance as well as to food — the building will be financially self-sustaining and will also generate revenue for scholarships. While Anchor House's contribution to Berkeley’s food security and sustainability work is important and exciting, the building’s primary function is to improve the Berkeley experience for transfer students. Providing space for commuters as well as residents and myriad opportunities for engaging with the broader Berkeley community, Anchor House promises to serve as a place for transfer students to root and flourish.

“It's exciting to see a new housing development with a focus on supporting the transfer student community,” says Lorena Valdez, director of the Transfer Student Center. “The other exciting part of Anchor House is what it signals to transfer students: we see you, we hear you, we value you.”