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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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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Summer Garden At St. John’s

This spring we started our project as a contained garden, now we have six small plant beds and one large raised bed. It has been an amazing experience to see how our seeds turned into seedlings and soon after started growing exponentially! The tomatoes started giving last week and so did the peppers, the onions and the eggplants. Our broccoli continues to grow and will be ready to harvest in a few more weeks. This project is moving forward! Thank you GreenThumb, Katie’s Krops and Build It Green! NYC. Special thanks to Ai Hirashi for al her gardening advice and plant beds donation and to Colm Johnston for your donation! We look forward to teach the kids how to use it this fall and learn more about how to measure the soil’s humidity. Thank you very much as well to Ed Feldman for his visit to St. John’s and the garden!

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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. http://www.katieskrops.com/apply-for-a-grant.html. 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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