School Gardens are Growing in Pittsburg
Back in September, Ms. Ramirez and her second graders at Willow Cove Elementary School in Pittsburg, CA started a garden with just a handful of seeds. They have been watering and weeding the garden all year, and were rewarded with their very first harvest this week. The students began their morning each naming their favorite vegetable – favorites that ranged from carrots to lettuce to broccoli. Then each student donned gardening gloves and pulled up the carrots, beets, and lettuce they’ve been watching grow. The students marveled at the results, especially the carrots which ranged from white to purple to the typical orange. After everyone had a handful of vegetables, they proudly marched them to the school cafeteria where the vegetables were washed and sliced.
Then came the taste test. Everyone got a few slices of carrots, a beet slice, and some lettuce leaves. The carrots were the biggest hit – the consensus being that the different colors carrots all tasted more or less the same – but the lettuce and beets disappeared quickly as well (much faster than you’d expect from a group of second graders). Luckily for the rest of the school, the extra vegetables were chopped up and served for lunch as part of the school’s salad bar.
School gardens like the one Ms. Ramirez and her class have so dutifully tended teach our children about where their food comes from and open them up to trying fruits and vegetables that might otherwise be snubbed by an eight year old. The Farm to Fork office is excited to hear that Matthew Belasco, the Director of Child Nutrition Services at Pittsburg Unified, is helping more teachers follow in Ms. Ramirez’s footsteps by installing gardens in more Pittsburg schools.