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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

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