I am so excited to share what we are up to right now with all of you lovely DIG supporters. This past Tuesday October 25th we officially embarked on what was the first of many exciting educational workshops with the students and faculty at the Hawtree Creek Middle School in Queens. Some 30 student council members and honor roll students attended the hour and a half after school workshop which encompassed a few valuable life skills; learning to pot first generation basil seeds, harvesting fresh basil from the beautiful organic garden and how to make fresh vitamin packed pesto!
The kids got to go out to the garden where plenty of fresh air and sunshine set a beautiful scene for learning to pot basil seeds in four inch starter pots of which the students took home with them to look after. They learned how to properly mix soil to ensure these little seeds had they're best chance at a healthy start. The first generation seeds were provided by our fantastic Founder & President Allison Turcan. The seeds came directly from her personal basil plants to ensure they were GMO and pesticide free.
After the seeds were all cozy in their new homes everyone moved inside to learn how to make pesto. Fresh organic arugula and kale grown in North Salem NY was provided by our favorite farmers from Deep Roots Farm NY, Mr. and Mrs. Scott and Stormie O'Rourke. Along with fresh organic basil, garlic, walnuts, lemon, parmesan cheese and Extra virgin olive oil the kids got to hands on learn how to make a healthy and delicious vitamin packed snack! They were genuinely excited and engaging with questions and input during the creative process of making this farm fresh dish. Why arugula and kale you might ask? Because although basil in itself provides iron and potassium, kale offers a plentiful source of vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate and manganese; in addition arugula provides a nice punch of calcium. We choose walnuts over pine nuts because of its heart healthy vitamin E. Because we believe in nurturing creativity and imagination there was no actually recipe followed during preparation, instead we tasted as a group and allowed the children to voice they're thoughts as to what it needed more of!
It was an absolute joy working with this group of young adults and we look forward to coming back next month for the another work shop. All of the kids got to take some fresh arugula, kale and basil home with them and some of the faculty took the last of the pesto with them. (lucky ducks!)
We are looking forward to potentially putting together a field trip to Governs Island where the kids can tour the teaching gardens there and be educated on all aspects of urban organic gardening. As always I would lie to take a moment and just reiterate how vital it is to know your food source, eat healthy and teach children the importance of organic farming and what it means to the future of this beautiful planet we call home!