Garden Kitchen Lab

The Garden Kitchen Lab is a backyard-to-table STEAM educational program for underserved communities. Our mission is to give youth 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 children, so they understand the link between food production and the environment, and take ownership of their health.


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Beet Bop A Lula

The children harvested their own beets and used them to make a banana-blueberry-beet smoothie. This has been a popular recipe for a few years now and we will be introducing other flavor smoothies in the future! Dianne Bliffeld, a new Board of Education volunteer did a wonderful job leading this class.

   

 


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Beet Smoothies for Everyone!

The garden tells us ‘what’s cooking’. Literally. This week beets were what the garden was giving and it only made sense to prepare something sweet and cold for this hot summer weather. Kids learned how to make beet-banana-smoothies. Easy and a great energy booster!

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Starting the growing season ~ 2016!

This year’s growing season started by adding two additional beds to the garden and showing kids how to start a raised bed form scratch. They laid plastic, poked holes for drainage and added layers of organic potting soil and compost for a good grow. Some of the compost added came from our own compost bin which we started last year. After school kids learned to plant from seeds, learned how to transplant seedlings and how to feed the garden a mix of organic vegetable food. After eight weeks students were able to see the progress, harvesting twelve lettuces, eight beets and ten broccolis! By the end of the spring they were quizzed to asses how much had the children absorbed from the lessons.


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April & May: Time to Plant & Reflect

During the last five weeks the kids have been planting and seeing their seeds grow. We are growing carrots, beets, two different kind of lettuces, cucumbers, Habanero peppers  —these are part a seed exchange program with the Global Partner Junior group in Mexico City, bok choy, onions, eggplants, chives, strawberries, chocolate mint, parsley, lemon thyme, rosemary, lavender, spearmint, oregano, winter squash, basil, Thai basil, mint, golden thyme, Italian oregano, red peppers, yellow peppers and different types of heirloom tomatoes from seeds the kids saved last year.

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Late Fall at St. John’s

Collard green, broccolis, beets and tomatoes were some of the vegetables that the children have been using to prepare salads throughout this fall. As part of the Garden Kitchen Lab program the kids also covered plant beds with oats and lentil seeds to protect the soil from extreme temperatures. Soil is the foundation of a healthy agricultural system. Through crop rotation and nutrient management, we are working on making a soil that is biologically rich.

The temperatures have dropped already and we have started our winter program by watching ‘Food Machine, America Revealed’, a documentary that explores how the country’s food machine feeds nearly 300 million people every day. This film showed the children the engineering marvels people have created by putting nature to work and takes a look at the costs of our insatiable appetite on our health and environment. Tied to the Sustainability theme for the Global Partners’s Junior program, the children at St. John’s are being exposed to a well rounded program on environmental awareness.

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