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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“I smelled peppermint leaves and tomatoes, it was fun.”

“In gardening class, we made pesto sauce, beet-berries-banana smoothie, steamed broccoli, quinoa salad, radish avocado toast, and tabouleh. We collect vegetables from the garden, then we went upstairs to cut the vegetables like radish and cucumbers.”

“I liked the beet banana smoothie because, to me, it tasted like a strawberry smoothie. I loved the quinoa salad! The first bite I took already made me want more. The pesto pasta tasted good because it tasted like regular pasta except it had green pesto sauce.”

“I like to eat and make pesto sauce because you can cut vegetables, and then Ms.Fabiola blends it with oil, salt, and we mixed it with the pasta.” Next, we make a beet-banana smoothie. We cut the beets and peel the banana, Ms. Fabiola blended the beet, and it was so good!!!”

“I learned about a different type of foods and smells of plants like chocolate mint and more. We also used the plants from the garden, for example, basil. And we also ate the food that we made.”

“I liked how when we found food in the garden, and we got to prepare tasty food, and we got to eat it. In the garden, there were bees in their habitat feeding off of flowers and caterpillars on the leaves.”

“I learned about making pesto sauce and growing tomatoes. Then we have tasted peppermint. We tasted an onion plant. We tasted chocolate mint. We tasted basil.”

“I love the pesto sauce and the beets smoothie!!!”

“I liked it when we cut the plants and cooked, then we got to eat them. Then we wrote about what we made in the garden and the kitchen.”

“I learned that we can make new different food to eat. We pick plants from the garden and cook in the kitchen. We loved cooking.”

“I learned how to work together like with other people.”

“What I liked is the gardening class is the beet banana shake and the chocolate mint, and I like being in charge of the kitchen.”

 


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A Tradition: Peruvian Quinoa Salad

Today students learned how to prepare a quinoa salad. Quinoa, a grain g found in the high altitudes of Peru and Bolivia is an excellent source of fiber. Kids harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, chives and basil leaves, and flowers to add to the salad. After some chopping and shredding, they completed their quiz. What to harvest to prepare a quinoa salad and the nutritional value of all the vegetables. A brief lesson on mapping the location of Peru and Bolivia and learning who grows quinoa was also included.

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The Garden Keeps On Giving

The summer camp students designed a series of collages and drawings of what they saw and experienced in the garden, they used traditional and digital media to create their pieces.

The following are some the kid’s observations:

“Today I am so excited because we actually got to make a quinoa salad. First, we were taught that quinoa comes to Peru and Bolivia. Then we went downstairs and got to harvest some of the ingredients that we are using to add to the quinoa. After we went to the kitchen and started. First, we chopped up the chives, then shredded the parsley and chopped the peppers. Last was the avocado. While we were chopping Ms. Fabiola was cooking the quinoa. We used a big tray to put the lettuce on the sides of the tray. Then we poured the quinoa and added the parsley, sweet peppers and avocado. Then we ate the delicious quinoa and stuffed ourselves.”

“What I did today is to harvest chives and parsley. Then we added the quinoa, avocado, red peppers, chives, and lettuce. We added strawberry vinaigrette, salt, and olive oil. I thought it tasted awesome.”

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June’s Harvest!

The kids have been working in the garden almost every afternoon. They have learned how to plant, how to use the tools properly, how to measure and distribute the plant area correctly, so when plants grow are not so close to each other. They really like to use the weed grabbers and have been cleaning out the garden from weeds quite well.

We yield 10 pounds of vegetables already! The kids harvested lettuce, parsley, and chives. With some of the produce, we made a quinoa salad for twenty-five kids. The children washed the veggies, chopped the chives, red pepper, and the parsley. We mixed everything with organic quinoa, avocado, and strawberry vinaigrette. The children loved it, and everyone had seconds! An additional lesson about where does the quinoa grain comes from and who grows it was also part of the class.

The kids completed their journals, writing about their experiences planting, composting, and cooking. Grabbing food scraps and shredding them before adding them to the compost and looking for red worms were some of their favorite activities.

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Quinoa Salad by Illari

Illari, a seven-year-old from Peru, shows students how to prepare a quinoa salad 🙂 First step boil water, once the water is boiling add the quinoa. For two cups of quinoa use four cups of water and add salt to taste. Chop one sweet red pepper and two handfuls of celery into tiny pieces. Once the quinoa boiled use a strainer to discard the water and pour it to a large bowl to cool it down. Add the pepper and the celery. Use a blender to dissolve the pulp of two passion fruits and use a strainer to keep only the pulp. Add it to the quinoa mix. Add salt and olive oil to taste. Mix one avocado with olive oil and salt and use it to garnish. This recipe serves ten people. Through this activity, the children learned quinoa grows in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia and that it needs high altitudes to grow. With the aid of a world map, the children located these countries and understood how quinoa is harvested. They also tasted passion fruit for the first time. It was beautiful to see how the kids were inspired by another child to prepare something new and how receptive they were too to new flavors.

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