We've been harvesting (beans, greens, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, beets and more), digging (so many worms!), tending our bees (did you know that workers in a hive fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey?), of course, eating good food from the farm. The photos below can tell you more.
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Extra special thanks go out to Chef Robert Weidmaier and Chef Michael Bonk for teaching us their tricks, plus all the teachers, chaperones, and volunteers who've made it all work.
We're heading into the home stretch! After our field trips next week, we'll close down the Groundhog Garden and start planning for spring.
This weekend, we're building a brand-new shed that will help make field trips even better. Want to help? We can certainly use it! More info is here.
The students at Cleveland Elementary with Chef Lauren say it loud and clear - third annual D.C. Farm to School Week was a huge success! About 5,000 students engaged in farm-to-table activities and over 200 school cafeterias featured seasonal, local food. Farmers, chefs, food service staff, parents, teachers, and volunteers came together to connect students with where food comes from. October 3-7, 2011 was a week full of excitement, fun, and discovery!
kick-off event, which also marked the start of National Farm to School Month in October. Four local chefs and their student assistants competed to make the tastiest seasonal salads for a panel of judges. Using only school garden produce and healthy ingredients from Whole Foods, chef Lauren Von Der Pool won the judges over with her tangy kale salad. White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh, State Superintendent of Education Hosanna Mahaley, and other V.I.P.’s and community members joined in the celebration at Thurgood Marshall Academy.
During the week, schools in all 8 wards of the District featured seasonal, local produce in their school meals. Just a few examples - Chartwells served roasted local butternut squash and local bok choi in a vegetable stir fry. D.C. Central Kitchen’s Fresh Start Catering cooked up roasted local broccoli and baked local sweet potato fries. Revolution Foods served fresh local pears and braised local collard greens with their BBQ chicken. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
45 schools engaged approximately 5,000 children in hands-on food, farm and nutrition education during the week. 41 schools were visited by local chefs from around the area for interactive cooking demonstrations. For example, Thomas Marr from Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza made roasted squash and grilled apple salad with 5th graders at Janney Elementary. 19 schools were visited by local farmers, who taught students about what it’s like to work on a farm. Polly from the Acokeek Foundation even brought chickens in to visit Garfield Elementary students! 10 schools went on field trips to nearby farms. For example, Cleveland Elementary’s 3rd graders planted garlic, weeded the herbs, and made morning glory crowns at Common Good City Farm. A handful of other schools coordinated activities such as farmers’ market visits, film screenings with families of “What’s On Your Plate” for parents and families, and veggie taste tests. We even sent volunteers into school cafeterias dressed as giant carrots and peapods to encourage kids to eat their veggies.
The D.C. Farm to School Network at Arcadia and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education coordinated D.C. Farm to School Week, in conjunction with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, Chipotle, Whole Foods, USDA Forest Service, Lululemon, the Capital Area Food Bank, school partners, farmers, chefs, school food service professionals and tons of dedicated volunteers. We send a HUGE thank you to all who were so critical at making D.C. Farm to School Week a success! We also thank our sponsors DC Hunger Solutions, Dan Schiff, and WGirls DC for their contributions.
This quote from a DCPS teacher sums up how the week's activities complemented her classroom instruction:
"I really appreciate...the experience! It's so great when I am in the middle of a lesson and my scholars make a connection from their experience with D.C. Farm to School Week ('like when Chef Jerry did...' or 'when Farmer Mary Ellen did...') with a new lesson that I am teaching them. What a great feeling for a teacher; not only does it show that the students were well engaged in the previous lesson activity but it shows they are engaged in the new lesson when they make that connection... a priceless moment in teaching!"
The formal gardens at Arcadia have always gotten my brain wheeling with ideas and with the help of an amazing landscape architect (a HUGE thanks to Ann!), we are finally going to make the Heritage Gardens a reality! The goal is to trace the history of Woodlawn through edible gardens--highlight the rich agricultural history of the place and show how generations of people cared for themselves, their families and their communities through this land. If you want more information or wish to sponsor a plot, please contact Farmer Mo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about the plan below:
† ARCADIA HERITAGE GARDENS ¢
The idea. Let the garden’s geometry tell the story.
Within the triangular planting beds along a
clockwise path, discover 17th century plants
foraged and cultivated by the Dogue Indians. The
herbs Nelly Custis Lewis used to flavor stews,
pickle vegetables and treat a feverish child. Plants
that enslaved Africans grew to recall their native
lands. Vegetables raised by the Quakers before the
Civil War. Crops and gardens kept by the Masons,
the family who lived together longest at
Woodlawn. Plants that reveal the 20th-century
transition from food crops to flower gardens.
Heritage you can see, touch, smell and taste.
We invite you to support Arcadia Heritage
Gardens. Each triangle can be sponsored for $250.
We also welcome volunteers to help build this
piece of living history!
I am really excited about the project and can't wait for next spring to get started! Hope to see you in the garden!
If you are willing to come out and help, please contact Maureen Moodie, Arcadia Farm Manager, at maureen[at]arcadoafood[dot]org. Please tell anyone else who may be interested!
Chipotle burritos and adult beverages will be provided and, of course, a HUGE thank you from the Arcadia team.
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
"Look!" she yelled. "It's a worm!" Before I knew it, ten other kindergarteners gathered, squealing and shrieking, as they passed the small, slimy creature around. One pulled the worm around her finger and held her hand out to me: "It's a wedding ring!" she said.
Put DC kids and a patch of soil together and what do you get? Curiosity, creativity, disgust, and lots of excitement. At our first field trips of the season, students from Washington Middle School for Girls and Ross Elementary School got the full farm experience, complete with compost, bees, and planting seeds.
Ross Elementary School students were even treated to a special chef demonstration by Chef Alison Reed of Cafe St Ex. The apple carrot salad was a hit! Our very own Chef Benjamin showed Washington Middle School for Girls how to make green bean salad. DC Farm to School's Andrea also made a guest appearance in a carrot costume and was bombarded by kids within seconds - "I'm going to eat you!" they screamed.
What a way to celebrate DC Farm to School week! We're definitely looking forward to hosting more and more school visits in the coming weeks. A big thank you goes out to our volunteer field trip assistants Laurel, Sheri, Lara, and Cat for all their help.