Garden Kitchen Lab

The Garden Kitchen Lab is a backyard-to-table educational program for underserved communities. Our mission is to give youth and their families access to healthy and locally grown food through starting and sustaining food-producing gardens. This hands-on multi-disciplinary program puts the power in the hands of community citizens, so they understand the link between food production, the environment and their health, and take ownership of their nutrition.

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Katie’s Krops Grant

Serenity was awarded the Katies’s Krops grant and the Garden Kitchen Lab will be able to start building the garden! The goal of this program is to teach children how to farm, appreciate and eat what they grow, and give part of the harvest to people in need.  It is this experience, that little by little will make the children understand the beauty of eating healthy and eating good quality food. Serenity, 11 years old, along with the other 26 winners this year, are all  featured on the Katie’s Krops site this month. She was also awarded a Leica photo camera and she will be documenting how the veggies grow through the summer. We can’t wait to see how our crop turns out!

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The Garden’s Map

This week we planned how we are going to start building our garden. First step was to document the sun light hours in the area where we want to grow. I took pictures of the garden from 9am to 5pm, every hour, to see where the sun sets. A garden needs at least eight hours of sun to grow strong and healthy vegetables and fruits. Second step was to create a map of where the plant beds will be placed in the garden. The second graphic is the area where the plant beds will be located. The third step was to start growing! We are starting small, I got plant starters, compost and seeds, and the children planted basil, rosemary and marigold. Each seed has different needs, rosemary seeds do not  need to be covered with too much soil; basil seeds need 1/4″ inch deep dimple to start, and marigold seeds need a 1″ inch deep dimple to grow. The children wrote their names and what they planted on each pot, that will helps us decide how much water each plant pot needs. The plants stayed indoors yesterday, but this weekend they will stay outdoors so they can get as much sun as possible!

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Papaya Coconut Lime Juice Snack

For this week’s snack I found fresh papaya at the local supermarket. A total find! The children scooped the papaya seeds off, peeled and chopped the fruit, spread shredded coconut and squeezed a few lime juice drops to it. Super simple, super easy snack to make. None of these kids had tasted papaya before, so I will make sure to add a lesson next week on how does this fruit grows, its nutritional properties and where does papaya come from. Also, as part of the Garden Kitchen Lab program, we have been composting for the last month at local community garden and will start our own compost program early this summer.

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Mango Strawberry Mint Smoothie

This week we started getting tropical and made a mango strawberry smoothie. The ingredients: Organic mango chunks, fresh organic strawberries , fresh organic basil, almond milk and a scoop of goat yogurt. Kids liked it so much, they asked me to make it again!

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Strawberry, Blueberry Coconut Smoothie

The children asked for smoothies and smoothies they’ve got! Strawberries, blueberries, almond milk and honey smoothies.

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We watched a video about how honey is made. The queen bee lays 2,000 eggs per day creating the work force necessary to make honey. One hive of bees can yield up to 7 pounds of honey, that is more than what the bees need to feed themselves; it is that surplus what we end up eating.

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Strawberry Sensory Experience

I asked the children to observe an strawberry carefully and smell it before they taste it, taking small bites until finishing one strawberry slowly. I gave them crayons and asked them to draw and write how they felt about strawberries.

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Mama strawberry, baby strawberry and strawberry ‘eggs’.

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The outside of an strawberry and the spirit of the strawberry living inside.