What can you grow when there are only 10 hours of light between sunrise and sunset?
Microgreens! In a recent visit to the Vallejo People's Garden on Mare Island, I learned about PharmFresh, a nonprofit that cultivates microgreens on an urban scale. A partnership between a community organizer and university medical students, this project aims to get the freshest, most nutritionally-dense foods to the local community. Sounds exactly like what school gardens strive to accomplish!
I loved this collaboration so much that I bought one of their microgreen grow kits to gift this holiday season. There are more green gifting ideas at the end of this seasonal newsletter, but first, a few features and updates.
If you missed October's blog post, here it is: Rave Review of "the School Garden Curriculum" by Kaci Rae Christopher
Currently, seven Napa educators are exploring Christopher's book as a Professional Learning Community (PLC). On four Saturdays throughout the year, the Sustaining School Gardens course engages garden educators in reading about and discussing permaculture practices and then implementing and sharing lessons from the School Garden Curriculum. The next meeting will be on Saturday, January 25th. Contact Carrie if you would like to join (CEUs available.)
Featured Lesson: Garden to Crockpot
Got the rainy-day blues because you can't get your class outside? Never fear, the Food Tank annual book list is here! Check out these 15 Children's Books Celebrating Food or read one of the multiple versions of Stone Soup. Don't have a copy? Request one today, compliments of the Whole Kids Foundation. In the Common Core Cooking lesson, Something from Nothing, students rate the taste of raw vs. cooked carrot coins and then write a recipe for a class soup.
You could win this!
New Partnership Launch!
The result of a year of collaborative planning, the Napa County Office of Education secured the first USDA Farm-to-School grant award in Napa County. The School Garden Doctor will provide professional learning to after school educators implementing garden-enhanced nutrition education (GENE) at three sites. Read more about this project here.
On November 30th, three Dirt Girls braved cold and windy weather to interact with buyers at the Napa Farmers Market. We raised $130 dollars selling homemade beeswax sandwich wraps. Funds will be used to take a field trip to the Ruth Bancroft Garden this coming spring.
In addition to beeswax sandwich wraps, dried persimmon and potpourri make the list of "green" gifts I've given or received this holiday season. Watch the GrowVeg video for more great ideas!
Alternatively, give the gift of giving with a contribution to any of the end-of-the year fundraising campaigns for (one of) your favorite nonprofit organization(s). ;)
To empower youth in your own community, be one of the donors to Inspire Dozens of Girls to Pursue STEM Careers. Only $585 to go in this year-end campaign!
In one donor's words: I am the father of a teenage girl, and I also work in STEM. Unfortunately, my daughter and most of her friends do not see STEM as a career path for girls and I want to help change that.
~Global Giving Donor
As the calendar year comes to a close, be sure to pause and reflect on the bounty you enjoyed from your school garden. For winter solstice inspiration, read a few Sweet Stories from Soil Born Farms.