By: Katie Sanders FoodCorps Service Member
I knew it would happen before I knew it, but nevertheless it is already the end of the school year and I am still shocked. I am still getting used to the month of May, let alone the fact that school is out and the summer season is upon us. The end of the school year was marked with the usual madness of end-of-year celebrations, award ceremonies and field day activities, however as a FoodCorps service member the end of the year also marked the last time that I would get to interact with the majority of my students. For my EJES students, it was the last time that I would be formally in a classroom with them and the last time they would have a lesson with me as Ms. Garden Katie. With this on my mind, my collaborative teacher at EJES and I decided to host a “garden celebration” with each of the 2nd grade classes as our end of year activity.
For our garden party we chose to make garden pizzas. Each student was given a tortilla “pizza” with pizza sauce and cheese. They were then allowed to put on toppings such as shredded spinach and chopped bell peppers. From our farm field trip to Rocking W farm a few weeks ago, we were lucky to be able to also serve fresh ground beef (cooked of course!) as a topping along with fresh radishes and rosemary that the students picked from our school garden just before we started cooking. It really validated our efforts in garden education when students were begging me for extra spinach and were encouraging each other to taste the radishes!
For refreshments we made garden mint lemonade from freshly squeezed lemons, simple syrup and fresh mint from the garden as well. We tossed all the ingredients in a blender with water and lots of ice to create a tasty herbed slushy! The kids went crazy for it and it is definitely a recipe I will be using in the upcoming hot summer months.
While I was (and continue to be) quite sad that the year has come to an end, I am also excited for my students to continue their garden learning in the future and I hope they are able take all the fun times we shared in the garden with them wherever their future studies take them.