Welcome! This blog follows the building, cultivating, and harvesting of the Lakewood Elementary schoolyard garden in St. Petersburg, Florida. Since January 2009, the Edible Peace Patch Project has been developing innovative community-oriented food system and nutrition educational programs in south St. Petersburg, Florida. Lakewood Elementary is the 1st school to participate in our Garden Education Program!
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. . . . Explore. Dream." ~ Mark Twain
Coming into our last week of teaching at Lakewood, we have all been excited to return again in February at the start of our next semester to continue the small legacy we've established with the Peace Patch. This once grassy plot was dreamed and transformed into the fruitful garden we see today. We've been excited as well for the amazing news that (with funds raised) we have been approved to continue the project at 3 more elementary schools in the St. Pete area. Not only will these schools include our integrated schoolyard gardens, but approval has also been seen in the development of a small scale farm directly associated with food programs at the schools themselves! With this amazing news we've been scheming on ways to raise funding for these projects as well as get the name of The Edible Peace Patch Project known at Eckerd and surrounding city. We'll be needing many volunteers and students to help spread our reach in these new ventures and are ecstatic to have more room for those in St. Pete who want to participate in positive change.
Friday marked the beginning of our fund raising efforts with a bake and harvest sale on campus at Eckerd. Alina, Katie, and I spent the early morning hours harvesting squash blossoms, carrots, summer squash, cilantro, okra, green beans, salad greens, and gourds to sell. We really wanted not only to attract donations for sugary treats, but to show prospective volunteers and community members the fruits of our and the children at Lakewood's labor of love.
We spent the morning cleaning loads of salad greens and bundling cilantro talking of our deep love for this project and the ways it's touched each of us. We've all learned so much, not only from the children, but from the land and one another. Working in such a dynamic group of passionate individuals fosters our power and determination to make this project everything in can be, and I know we're all looking forward to an amazing year of in depth planning and start-ups of our new projects.
Nasturtium, Buttercrunch, and Mesclun Green Salad
By the time I had to head back to the garden, Katie and I had raised nearly $100 in the mere 45 minutes we had open the stand on Campus! I zoomed back to Lakewood, meeting Tristram for our Friday class' final assessment. The students did an amazing job of answering their questions and showed an amazing rate of retention, even yelling out vocabulary words on our tour through the garden. They were all overjoyed when "Mr. T" and I let them pull carrots to take home and show their families the awesome job they'd done in the garden this term.