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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“Food Lab” at Garden Kitchen Lab

Garden Kitchen Lab will be developing new projects called “Media With A Purpose”; which aims at leveraging technology to learn about sustainability, and other cultures through food and cooking.

Thank you Media Education Coordinators Chad Chenali and Belinda McKeever for collaborating with me on this project!

#MediaWithAPurpose #Food Lab #FabiolaCaceres #ChadChenali #BelindaMcKeever


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Swale Food Forest & Garden Kitchen Lab

This fall Swale and the Garden Kitchen Lab hosted a free public meal showcasing salads, herbal teas, and roasted butternut and delicata squashes from Swale’s floating food forest and the Garden Kitchen Lab. The event took place at Pier 6 in Dumbo. We had hundreds of people enjoying an afternoon of foraging and harvesting in a food-forest-park setting.

Swale is a collaborative floating food forest where people may visit, partake in the caretaking process, and learn about food sustainability. Created by artist Mary Mattingly, Swale functions as both an evolving sculpture and a tool by producing healthy food at the intersection of public art and utility. Visitors to Swale will see persimmon, bok choy, yucca, onion, tomatillos, herbs, and other perennial fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants. Rainwater is collected from the rooftop of the Biome Arts Greenhouse Theater, a pavilion that serves as a performance space, activist meeting hall, and artist gallery aboard Swale.

Learn more about Swale on our Public Art page and see other Swale-based events here.

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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 steaming 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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Growing Season Begins!

This week the students began planting using small seed trays 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 peppers, and wanted their seedlings to grow right away! By observing how long seeds take to sprout will make students understand Nature’s processes, and appreciate when the garden starts giving.

The students also Skyped with other Global partner’s Junior participants in Mexico City, as part of the Global Partner’s Junior program. Our students are growing habanero peppers to mail the seeds to Mexico in the fall. Next year the students in Mexico will plant the habanero pepper seeds. We hope this exchange helps all students understand how technology can be used to make a difference in real life.

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Cucumber Lemon Agave Ice Cubes

The children had so much fun preparing this recipe! And it was so simple to make. We used 3/4 liter of water, 20 lemons, 1 1/4 large cucumber, 8 spoons of agave, and 9 ice trays. First, the children took the lemon seeds off and squeezed the juice in a plate; the lemon juice was then placed in the water container adding the spoons of agave. We shaved the cucumbers with graders and added the julienned cucumber on each of the cubes and set the trays in the freezer for three hours. The kids loved the taste of these cucumber ice cubes and did not miss sugar flavor at all. We are also growing cucumbers in the garden so we will be making more recipes with this vegetable throughout the summer! Below some pictures of this experience and adding compost to our onion plant.

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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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Garden Kitchen Lab Bliss

In our Garden Kitchen Lab program, 8 to 13 years old, participate in preparing coconut almond bliss balls. The children learn about tropical fruits and nuts and how to make a healthy snack while having fun. This two-part class introduces children to the countries and the farmers who grow and harvest nuts around the globe, and the different kinds of pollination to grow the ingredients needed to make the recipe. Walnuts, almond paste, pistachios, coconut and sesame seeds are some of the ingredients used this coconut almond bliss ball recipe.

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Simiah, Alyssa, Perla, and Simone making bliss balls at the kitchen’s center.

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Students watched a short video about vanilla plant pollination and fair trade in Uganda. The vanilla flower is so small, a tiny vanilla-flower bee is the only insect that can pollinate it. To pollinate enough plants, and other vanilla products, the flowers have to be fertilized, by hand one by one! This delicate labor is fair trade, and Ugandan farmers can build their houses and be homeowners and send their children to college.


14Seventy-five children at the After School program ate this sugar-free organic snack, and they loved it!