Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today was my last day of teaching for the spring semester 2011, but definitely not the last time I will be teaching at the Peace Patch. The kids came out and ran into their groups, excited for this week’s lesson. Unfortunately it was not a lesson today, but a little test on all of the lessons that we have taught throughout the semester. It seemed like we hid the fact that it was a test from the kids pretty well because they were so excited to do the worksheet and got started right away, no complaints! It also could have been because we told them that if they were good they would get to play a game at the end of class. Anytime the kids were having a little trouble with one of the questions I would mention a game or activity that we did over the semester and they would remember the answer. This semester has helped me realize that this active teaching style works really well with kids and I’m pretty jealous that I didn’t have a program like this at my elementary school.

Once the worksheet was completed we played the compost game and a few rounds of the butterfly life cycle.

After the students left Jamie, Sarah, and I were visited by a preschooler whose pet butterfly had hatched around 9:00 this morning. It is the second one she has released into our garden this year! These preschoolers have not yet experienced the garden lessons, but they already have a fascination with butterflies and nature so I’m excited to teach them more next year.

It was a little sad leaving the garden and saying bye to all of my students, but I know we will all be back next year for more garden fun in the Peace Patch.

Ethan Mauger

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Harvest Festival 2011!!

Another season passed.
What a blessing to be a part of this community, to be a part of Eckerd College, where students care about making the world a better place and actively do something about it, to be a part of Lakewood Elementary School, which has welcomed us and allowed us to spend time with all of the beautiful children there, to be able to build and plant and cultivate and harvest a garden...and a community.  What a blessing it is.

We had visitors tour the garden in the late afternoon, croon at our sunflowers, admire the tomatoes, peer into the compost.

Our kale and collards and sweet potato and beans all welcomed them with bright green leaves and food for the picking.

There were samples to try in the garden, nasturtium flowers, basil leaves and dill seeds.

There was okra the size of small children.

There was a palpable feeling of joy as we all shared our landscape with the community.

Inside, Eckerd College students had prepared a feast.  They each made a dish based on the vegetables we grew in the garden and the food was stupendous and healthy.

Everyone filled their plates with pasta and salad and a host of dishes like lasagna and eggplant and sweet potato.

There was more than enough for everyone and everyone was well fed.

We even spotted some elementary kids actually eating their vegetables.

Two of my project coordinators, graduating senior Jamie P.  and phenomenal sophomore Katie S. greeted folks as they came through the door, welcoming them to our celebration.

Kaylie B., who was a big part of the garden before she graduated last year, came to visit her old and new friends, sharing a laugh with Tommy L., Cheslea E., Ethan M., Sydney C., and Jamie P.

There were seconds, and thirds.

And everyone readied themselves for some entertainment.

Three of the fourth grade boys from chorus agreed to sing The Garden Song led and accompanied by Lakewood Elementary's fantastically talented music instructor Mrs. Alfaro.

Three fourth grade girls from strings then serenaded us with four songs on the violin and viola.

We had an opportunity to thank Alpha Kappa Alpha, whose generous support helped us get started in the fall and serve up full dishes in the spring.

We also had an opportunity to thank Sarah T., who brought her mom, and whose work developing the Wellness Kitchen and teaching nutrition from our garden was perhaps the most generous gift we received this year.  

We will MISS Sarah!!

The Eckerd students enjoyed the show.

We even raffled off eight eggplant and pepper plants to several lucky winners who were excited to bring them home and see how much they could grow.

It was a wonderful evening with a lovely community,

and I am truly one of the luckiest people in the world.


Kip Curtis
Project Manager

Monday, May 2, 2011

Planning and Cooking up a Storm!

Today was spent making final preparations for the harvest festival... making posters, buying last minute groceries, and gathering pictures... everyone is so excited! Despite some initial organizational confusion (as is the case with most big events), everyone left the meeting with a sense of preparedness and anticipation. I'm excited to see how the parents respond to all the hard work the kids have been doing this semester... I think they will be pleasantly surprised!

I have been spending my afternoon cooking up a storm! I am making eggplant lasagna, and so far it's coming out as planned... let's keep our fingers crossed!

In other news, everyone was quite amused with the plight of monk parakeets that frequent our garden. They showed up this morning, despite the mass of people, and tried to attack our sunflowers. We managed to shoo them away (for now), but this introduce species definitely enjoys munching on the flowers pretty regularly. Here they are pictured perched on the power-line, waiting for us to turn our backs!
Stay tuned for tomorrow's update from the Harvest Festival... you won't want to miss it!