Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Dare Family Garden

Last Sunday was a clear warm November day. It could not have been a more enjoyable day to meet the Dare family at June Jordan to break ground for their first garden plot at the school site.

The Dare family has joined Urban Sprouts in the multicultural garden project and planted a winter garden of Pac Choi, Broccoli Raab and Snow Peas! It was a great experience to get to know JJSE student, Marcus, amidst the warmth of his family and to watch them work together to create this shared garden. We look forward to the family story about the chosen crops and the recipe to follow for the harvest!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Permaculture & Pears at ISA

I just got back from an inspiring morning at Mary Ann's Gardening Seminar at International Studies Academy (ISA). This class is 90 minutes all devoted to gardening! Today, students read an article on the importance of Compost, and wrote a short essay in response. Then, they went outside and worked on three projects in their magical garden site. This spot has so much potential!

Shaun guest-starred today and helped one group of students to dig a trench, part of the system of swales for the hillside. Guided by Permaculture principles, this technique will prevent erosion and conserve the water that runs down the hillside when it rains. Swales will divert the water via the natural curves of the hill, towards plants instead of straight into the storm drain. Diverting water from storm drains saves the city a lot of headaches, too (you're welcome, SF!).

Another group weeded this planter box of artichokes, while others pruned the squash patch and gathered fallen and trimmed branches. They began building a compost pile, with neat layers of green material (fresh, juicy and nitrogen-rich) alternating with layers of browns (dried, crunchy, carbon-rich). Once our friendly decomposers attack this pile, we'll be set with rich natural fertilizer for the spring.

After all that hard work, we enjoyed some tasty Barlett Pears from the Farmers' Market. Delicious!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Omelette, anyone?

I am VERY excited to report that our lovely chickens at June Jordan School for Equity have laid their first eggs! The students have collected almost a dozen eggs by now, since Ms. Sarah's class found the first one about a week and a half ago. We fried some of the eggs last week, chopped them into bite-sized pieces, and added them to a delicious salad, along with several varieties of lettuce, honey-mustard vinagrette, and Pippin apples from my tree at home.

Partially related to the egg-laying, recent activity in the chicken coop has sparked interesting discussions about puberty and reproduction. The rooster has started getting frisky with the hens (check out the beautiful combs he has developed!) That, combined with the appearance of eggs, has led to conversations about mating, the purpose of eggs, whether or not they might be fertilized or viable to hatch, and much more. I'll leave the rest to your imagination!

More JJSE Chicken Photos and
Read more about raising chickens!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

JJSE Parent Garden

Urban Sprouts is excited to be working with parent groups at their schools. While our programming is effective with youth at school, it is strengthened when parents and families also grow their own food. This year we are looking forward to working with families to develop culturally specific gardens that reflect the rich food heritage and personal stories of the families at our schools!

The other day a June Jordan parent, Romana, came out to plant a winter garden. We talked about the preparation of the crops, Dia de Los Muertos, and Thanksgiving recipes. I look forward to learning more from her about food and cultivating!