Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer Program Last Day Party!

The last day of the Summer Program we hosted our most successful Garden Party yet! Youth participants in the program invited their families, friends and teachers to visit the Garden for the Environment and see all the amazing work the youth have done!! More than 75% of youth brought family to the garden - this is HUGE, compared to the less than 10% turnout we usually get for our garden parties during the school year. Teachers from MLK Middle School and June Jordan attended, as did Ross Mirkarimi, District 5 Supervisor.

What incredible work did the youth showcase at the Garden Party? Well, the youth taught us about . . .

Soil Health: John and Julius showed parents how to save seeds from native plants at the GFE and to sow them in window boxes and home gardens. John gathered the seeds from the garden himself - he learned how to identify mature seed pods ready to be harvested!

Families took home seeds to grow swiss chard, native Hooker's Evening Primrose, and Foxgloves. You can buy window boxes like the ones we used at your local Cole Hardware, or make them from scrap wood like old dresser drawers!

Eating Healthy at Home: Muawattia, Andre, Delvin and Suzi harvested and prepared veggie stir-fry with rice for everyone, and served it up hot! Everyone enjoyed those fresh and healthy greens.

This group also made a poster listing these ways we can all make healthier choices:
  • Exercise and eat healthy including: bananas, strawberries, greens, apples, sweet peas, collard greens
  • Choose whole food over processed food. Why? Because you will know what is in your food that can help you and not kill you slowly.
  • Replace sweets with another kind of healthy food.
  • Check Food Labels before you buy foods.
  • You should have no more than 48 grams or 12 teaspoons of sugar in one day.
Where Our Food Comes From: Ellie, Walter, Angel and their group compared the environmental impact of a locally grown orange to the impact of buying orange juice grown in Florida or Brazil, which is shipped, processed and shipped again, using petroleum resources all the way.

They calculated that a local orange grown in Fresno travels 187.55 miles to you, while orange juice travels from 2,948 to 10,000 miles, depending if it is grown in Florida or Brazil.

The group gave us this statistic, from the CA Center for Public Health Advocacy, and they introduced us to the San Francisco Local Foods Wheel, a beautiful tool that tells you what locally-grown foods you can buy here and when they are in season.

Zero Waste: Last but certainly not least, Oscar, Alex, Ahmed and Kochise taught all the visitors how to divert waste from the landfill by recycling at home! They gave out green kitchen pails and the phone numbers to call to get your green bin and blue bin set up at home, so the City can collect your recyclables and compostables. Even more exciting, they gave out home worm bins and taught families how to compost food scraps without the waste even leaving home.

We ventured into the GFE's deep, dark worm bin to dig some fat, shiny red wrigglers for the visitors to take home. We even saw a couple of mating pairs!!

The youth did such an AMAZING job teaching their families all about the garden. They gave tours, showed off the beds they planted, tasted, smelled and touched the now familiar plants with their younger siblings, and had fun in this beautiful green outdoor space.

A HUGE Thank You to all the youth and their families who participated in the Summer Program and our Last Day Garden Party. Thanks a MILLION to the wonderful youth staff (Claire, Ellie, Julius, Oscar and Antoine) who made it happen!!

We at Urban Sprouts are SO VERY appreciative of our partnership with the Garden for the Environment and the opportunity to work with Suzi and Blair! Thank you!!

For more photos of the Summer Program, click here.


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I don't even remember how I stumbled across this blog, but it amazes me every time I read it. Thank you for your stories and photos. They always inspire me to walk gently on Earth.

Boston BookEd said...

Very smart program all around. As many have noted, just showing kids who haven't spent time in gardens how fun and interesting it can be is enough to catch their interest. Videogames, schmideogames! Well done folks.