On Thursday, February 8th, thanks to a grants from Kaiser-Permanente and Atena Corporation, CommunityGrows was able to partner with the Green Team at Rosa Parks Elementary School to offer a monthly Salad Day. One of the parents on the Green Team, Jocelyn Herndon, was able to secure delicious produce from Whole Foods on California Street for the day. The morning was spent washing and chopping tomatoes, jicama, apples, carrots and oranges for the salad and crudités. Then off to the cafeteria to offer the bounty to the students. Everyone loves Salad Day and lined up to fill their plates. Parents from the Green Team also went around the room offering seconds to everyone. Student monitors helped everyone recycle their leftovers. Another highlight of the lunch time was receiving a healthy sticker for eating the salad. The stickers were a great hit! Thank you everyone for making the Salad Day a great success!
On Tuesday, January 17, 2017 the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) enjoyed a cooking day at AT&T Park. The park, home to the San Francisco Giants also hosts a beautiful garden. It is a 4,320-square-foot patch, located just under the scoreboard behind the centerfield wall. Beyond providing a one-of-a-kind food experience within AT&T Park, the Garden serves as a living, learning classroom that encourages children to live healthier, more active lives. Through hands-on activities, children learn about the importance of healthy eating, see first-hand where food comes from and how it grows, and roll up their sleeves for a cooking class alongside Bay Area chefs. The BEETS enjoyed harvesting the huge stems of kale, chard and broccoli to make pizzas in the kitchen. They also got to make fruit kabobs which were really delicious!
“What makes this carrot prettier than that one?”
“Believe it or not, this carrot tastes exactly the same as that one!”
“That’s a pickle? But why is it so… white?” Oh I get it… It tastes just like a pickle, it’s just an ugly pickle.”
As we are fully immersed in San Francisco Fall – or technically a San Francisco summer? Here at the Edible Schoolyard we are wrapping up our summer harvests of tomatoes and peppers, while also beginning first rounds of of collards. We made good use of these fresh ingredients to make collard greens for our Greens Over Grains class – a popular lesson shared with us by the broader Edible Schoolyard network. We also had the pleasure this month of making homemade salsa to accompany our Lettuce Leaf Tacos. With these tacos, the black beans provide a solid source of protein, and the lettuce acts as a nice substitute for tortillas while still providing that desired crunch! We are now seeing the beginnings of our winter vegetables, starting with our carrots. Not only did the kids enjoy wrestling these delicious roots from the dirt, but they also found a few prime examples to go along with one of our class readings for the day, “The Ugly Vegetables” by Grace Lin. This month we spent some time challenging youth members ideas of what certain fruits and vegetables are supposed to look like, introducing exotic heirlooms of beans, carrots and even introducing (as indicated by an opening quote) the albino cucumber. It was fun to see how the kids envisioned what a perfect fruit or vegetable looked like, and to show them that the albino pickles made from our heirloom cucumbers, tasted just as good (if not better) than the typical store-bought ones. Along with our lessons focusing on calories and vitamins, another major theme of this month was that there is more to your average vegetable than what meets the eye!
Now that we’ve peeked an interest, we hope that our members will keep exploring, both in the garden and in the kitchen.
Thanks to a grant from Kaiser-Permanente Community Benefit Program, CommunityGrows is able to continue offering Salad Days at John Muir School. With a great donation of organic greens, carrots and cucumbers from Veritable Vegetable. Salad is prepped in the Parents’ Room of the school and taken to the cafeteria at lunch time. We make three huge bowl of salad and everyone in the school gets to enjoy it. We are proud to be able to be cultivating healthy youth, especially at John Muir Elementary School!
While we weren’t gone long for summer break at the Edible Schoolyard, we were gone just long enough to come back and be welcomed by a bounty of mature summer crops – cucumbers, lush ears of corn, squash, peppers, as well as multiple varieties of the sweetest cherry tomatoes. So much so, that in the ESY kitchen, we were faced with the fun and inviting question of, “What should we do with all these tomatoes!?” eager to participate. From a “Taste of Summer” elbow macaroni to corn-cucumber salsa, these are just two ways we decided to dedicate our summer crops to our anticipating bellies. As we make our way into the school year, we are excited to announce that one of the many activities we’ll be resuming this Fall is a drop-in “Teatime” – this year with a bigger focus. Teatime will allow groups of 6-8 students to come into the dining room and enjoy a cup of tea with their peers, hosted by Seed to Mouth instructor and ESY cooking program coordinator, Crystal Jones. During teatime, members are allowed to enjoy a contemplative space where they use their senses to try and guess their tea flavor of the day and we exercise attentive listening by employing the practice of “one mic”. In the first 10 minutes of the 20 minute tea time session, members get to check in and have a brief reset, while they answer the simple but very important question of “How are you?” Within the last 10 minutes of teatime, members will get to respond to a Q.O.T.D (question of the day) such as, “If you had the opportunity to learn something that is not taught in schools, what would it be?” or “Who is someone in your life who has made your life better? If you had the chance, what would you say to them?” The latter is an exercise in which they are given the option to write a small thank you note to hand deliver to their person of choice. This school year, we’ll continue to find ways to practice mindfulness, both in and out of the kitchen. We welcome you to join us! Keep well.
“Can you see peace and quiet?”
This is the question that was posed by a visiting clubhouse member upon entering the Willie Mays Edible Schoolyard Garden for the first time this July. When new members are welcomed into the garden we try to introduce it to them as a place of safety, a place of peace. This summer, opening the garden gates, we discovered that while we as individuals can do well to talk about the garden as a place of peace and almost sanctity, but that the garden is capable of doing this all on its own. In the ESY garden, there is a tone that encourages wonder and exploration, a tone that helps youth to be present there with all of the curiosity that youth allows, but that also helps them to understand that in this space, we protect and respect all living things with the utmost responsibility – a concept that we at the Edible Schoolyard hope is learned and extends into all other areas of our youth members lives. In this space, like the plants and insects – we, as keepers of and visitors of the garden can be transformed.
During the month of July with presiding teachers stationed throughout, we allowed free roaming of youth members within the garden; a way for them to navigate the maze of our garden space for a few minutes independently to harvest fruit, vegetables and herbs, as well as to “collect questions” to bring back for our cooking class for the day.
This July all of our cooking classes have started out in the garden and ended in the kitchen, with the hopes of bridging the mental gap between where our food comes from and the effects it has on our bodies. For the duration of the summer and into the new school year, we will continue to find ways of using this format of “seed to mouth” or “garden to table” in our cooking program.
So this summer, as we come to a close, we at the Edible Schoolyard wish you all the calm of being able to see peace and quiet, as you cap another season of teaching and learning, to prepare for a new one.
Hummus & Veggie Pinwheels
1 cup hummus, any flavor
2 large soft tortillas (whole wheat, or spinach)
½ cup thinly sliced red pepper
⅓ cup of sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
½ cup of shredded carrots, radishes, or jicama
1 thinly sliced avocado
4 leaves lettuce or 2 cups of spinach, divided
● Spread a thin layer of hummus on each tortilla.
● Divide the remaining ingredients between tortillas, on one side of each tortilla.
● Starting with the veggie side, roll the tortillas tightly and secure with toothpicks.
● Slice into pinwheels.
*Veggie Pinwheels are a great way to get your balanced spread of daily recommended vitamins & nutrients. Let’s identify the vitamins in your wrap. How could you change this recipe? What would you put in YOUR healthy wrap?
*From the Seed to Mouth Cooking Class*
A program of CommunityGrows
Report by Crystal Jones, CommunityGrows Cooking Coordinator:
Summer at the clubhouse has felt much like camp over the past few weeks. Lots of foot traffic around, high energy, and though the days are longer, the assortment of activity has allowed it to feel very fast paced. Amidst the rumble, in the cooking department we’ve been able to start to execute many of the ideas that we were only able to stew over during the school year. One of those being our “Cooking Around the World” series, which in the span of just over a month has allowed youth members to travel to eight different countries – from Japan to Brazil, Ethiopia, (and many places in-between). While in Japan youth members fumbled around with sticky rice and free form sushi rolls, which they rolled all by hand, customizing to their liking with various fruits and vegetables. They also had the option to use hummus on their sushi rolls instead of rice.
This activity provided the perfect opportunity for youth to refine their knife skills and perfect the “julienne” cut; a popular matchstick style of cutting that proves the perfect size for the stacking and lining up of many different vegetables. Over the month of June, we at the Edible Schoolyard have had the pleasure of inviting other clubhouses to come and join us for garden and cooking class sessions at Willie Mays. This gives clubhouse members a chance to interact with other youth and provide a welcoming space for them, as well as an opportunity to implement leadership skills in assisting with garden tours and helping visitors get accustomed in the kitchen. We look forward to hosting many more and inviting the broader BGCSF network to participate with us in “Cooking Around the World”.
An example of our whiteboard during “Cooking Around the World: Italy”. The board is normally turned around when youth members enter the kitchen and before revealing our country of the day, students are given a chance to see if they can guess what country we’re in for the day. This is done either through the playing of a tune or by sharing facts indicative to the particular region that we are in.
Next month we will bring our “Cooking Around the World” series to an end with a feast featuring many of the new favorite foods youth members have encountered throughout this food and people educational series.
Challenging you all to explore new & favorite foods yourself this summer! Eat well.
“Why’s it look so weird? It’s fun to harvest because you don’t know what you’re gonna get!”
“Yeah, it’s kind of like opening a present…”
“Oh my gosh it kind of looks like a hairy creature! Or like an octopus!”
When you’re out in the garden, pulling plants out of the ground, I suppose “legs” are a fair verbiage exchange when referring to the gangly tendrils of root vegetables. If we’ve not given it away yet, these and many more were the exclamations heard in the Edible Schoolyard Garden during our beet harvest last month. The youth at the clubhouse were surprised, delighted, disgusted and everything in between, surveying the wide variety of shapes and odd sizes of the beets growing in our garden. Arrayed in a wide range of colors, from yellow to orange, pink to purple, and white to red and white stripes, on the color spectrum there was something to appease everyone.
More difficult however to appease everyone, was finding a way to hide the robustly earthy flavor of the beet. We spent an entire three weeks with this versatile vegetable. Thinly slicing it and tossing it in herby dressing for salads, cubing it to try it raw, and roasting it with olive oil, salt and pepper… nothing did the trick. That is, until week two, when we began our pickling project. The youth separated the beets into two batches. Red and purple beets in one batch, and the remaining beets in another (this was done so that the second batch of beets would have the chance of retaining their hue, rather than being dyed red).
On the left you can see the brilliantly striped Chioggia Beet (pronounced kee-Oh-gee-uh). Also nicknamed “the candy-cane beet”. Using vinegar, salt, cane sugar, garlic (from the garden) and an assortment of pickling spices proved the perfect combination to win over new beet lovers. It was many of our members first time trying a pickled beet!
Until next time, keep exploring exciting new foods. Courtesy of Crystal Jones – Seed to Mouth Program Coordinator at the BGCSF Edible Schoolyard
Report by Crystal Jones, CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Coordinator.
Tuesday May 2nd was a very exciting day for youth in the Seed to Mouth – Edible Schoolyard Program at the Boys and Girls Club. A group from Willie Mays had a chance to invite the Tenderloin Clubhouse to join them on a field trip to the Giant’s Baseball garden at ATT Park. The youth got to exercise both mind and body, when we arrived to meet Hannah Schmunk of BonAppetit, who was prepared with a garden scavenger hunt and a day of pizza making for the them. The hunt involved reading a clue and identifying which fruit or vegetable was in the clue, then as a team, going throughout the garden in a youthful frenzy to find it. After the scavenger hunt and jump roping relay race, the youth worked in groups to make garden pizzas and fruit kabobs, using both herbs and various other ingredients growing in the garden. Youth adorned their pizzas with kale, a super food very well known to our garden-loving bunch. They were all very excited to learn of it growing in the Giant’s garden, and to find out that it is Giants’ baseball right fielder Hunter Pence’s favorite vegetable!
Each student got to take home their very own Giant’s Garden tote bag, and were surprised to find small bottles of olive oil, along with personally designed vegetable seed packets to plant veggies at their homes or school gardens. For more photos from the day check out the Photostream here.