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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Growing Season Starts!

This week the kids started planting using small seed tray containers and covering the cells with potting mix making sure to fill them to the top, then made 1/4 inch deep dimple in each cell and placed two to three seeds into each cell. By using this method if all seeds in one cell start to germinate, you can pull out all but the healthiest seedling —this is called thinning to one. We planted winter squash, basil, parsley, onions, beets, habanero peppers, swiss chard and carrots. The girls seemed to be particularly excited about planting carrots and habanero pepper, and want their seedlings to grow right away! But observing how long seeds take to sprout will make them realize everything in nature has its own time and rhythms and it will make them appreciate more when the garden starts giving.

The habanero pepper planting is part of a Global Partner Junior project. The St. John’s students spoke to children in Mexico City via Skype a few weeks ago and as part of the exchange program our students are growing habanero peppers to mail deliver the seeds to Mexico in the fall. Next year the students in Mexico will plant our habanero pepper seeds, we hope this interaction will help both groups understand how technology and virtual interaction can be used to make a difference in real life.

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Spring 2015: Our new garden at St. John’s!

We started our growing season this April First with the help of the New York Restoration Project. The NYRP focuses on building and restoring vacant lots, public parks, schools, sidewalks and waterfronts in communities of need. The St. John’s Center located in Crown Heights had the privilege to have the NYRP designing and building our new garden: Planters, trellises and a compost bin to turn St. John’s into a sustainable center, this last our final project for the Global Partner’s Junior program which our Garden Kitchen Lab students are also a part of.

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