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 Broccoli

Students completed their first full Garden-Kitchen-Lab lesson today by harvesting twelve super big broccolis! The children took all broccolis to the kitchen, chopped the stems and leaves off and added them to a large pan of steamed water. Three minutes later, the kids were enjoying steamed broccoli with olive oil and salt. All twelve broccolis were eaten that morning! the kids completed a quiz about the growing, harvesting and preparing the recipe along with learning the benefits of eating broccoli. A successful lesson.

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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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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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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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