Having come back from the Easter holidays, it was clear that our produce needed to be harvested and enjoyed! We decided upon a celebratory feast, where we’d invite parents in, share our experiences and most importantly cook up some fantastic dishes that showed off the quality of produce that we had grown.
The parents were welcomed by the children and they were enthusiastically shown the Tower Gardens and the bounty to be harvested within the hour. When the parents came back in, we had a zoom call with Stephen Ritz in the Bronx, New York City. We shared our plans and he asked some questions to help us reflect on the experience. With that done, it was time to harvest and cook! The menu you ask?
A salad of mixed mild and spicy leaves drizzled with a lemon, pepper and olive oil dressing
Caprese Bruschetta (Tomatoes, mozzarella and our own giant basil, served on crusty Italian bread)
Sautéed Rainbow Chard with sea salt flakes and farmhouse butter
Each dish was an absolute hit and the children were fantastic on all accounts. They listened intently and carefully when using sharp knives and hot pans, asked great questions, but also ate so much! Only 8 weeks ago, they were saying they’d never try it all – but scroll down to the photo of the children with plates packed full of salad leaves!
So what can we take from this project and why would we recommend it?
- If the children are excited in the growing, they will eat what they have grown. This will impact their eating choices going forward. No longer will they say ‘I don’t like lettuce!’, but instead ‘I know how to grow that and make a salad using it!’
- It is not all about healthy eating. Children have been challenged to build, propagate, problem solve, measure, communicate, record, work scientifically, nurture and be patient, amongst many other skills.
- The whole school have been amazed at the rate of growth, including the staff. The conversations as children walk past, and the sneaky picking and eating has been a delight to watch.
We now pass the project to another year group to enjoy, but no doubt, these children will get another term as our ‘Parklands Producers’ in the coming year or so!
Oh, and did I mention…we’re getting two more…