Friday, February 10, 2012

From Garden to Lunch Table

The idea was born a few weeks ago.  A group of 10 Lincoln High School peace garden students enjoyed their first lettuce harvest.  They tried two salad recipes: a simple “Lemon Dressing Salad” and a “Candied Walnut and Apple Salad”. The apple walnut salad was a hit. It was so convincing that 12th grade student Wendy said “Man, this is good. I think the whole school would love this!” It was quickly decided:  we would share the lettuce from our school garden with the general student population at lunch time.    
This morning students made it happen. They harvested lettuce, diced apples, and made candied walnuts by lightly toasting the walnuts and adding maple syrup.  Marlene was the salad dressing chef.  She didn’t even bother to use measurements. She carefully mixed the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and orange juice (fresh from the school’s orange tree) to make a custom and perfectly balanced dressing.   
Students rushed to get ready before the lunch bell rang. They prepared the lunch table with signs exhibiting “Salad Ingredients” the “Eat Well Plate” and announcements “La Verdura Cura” (vegetables cure) “Veggies Need Love Too” and “Free Salad!” They tossed together the ingredients and within moments it was lunchtime and students were running out of their classrooms. Lincoln students quickly and excitedly lined up to get their free salad.  Brando, Wendy, Fannie, Miztica, Marlene and Maria, the morning’s core volunteers, were busy serving plates and sharing information about our school garden. “They’re saying it’s really good!” Miztica whispered. The salad was an especially good addition to the school lunch which was mostly chicken drumsticks a la carte.  A student in line said, “You guys grew this? This is from our school? Now that’s cool.”  A total of 50 students enjoyed the locally grown salad.
                 Good job everyone! And a special thank you to service learning volunteers Maria and Joel from Cal State Fullerton’s “Barrios and Health Class”.      

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Update: Peace Garden at All Peoples

The Peace Garden at All Peoples in South Central.
Today was a sunny and beautiful day at All Peoples in South Central! AFSC staff Anthony Marsh, Los Angeles Program Director and Eisha Mason, AFSC Pacific Southwest Regional Director, joined the class taught weekly by Crystal Gonzalez, AFSC-LA's Peace Education Coordinator. Today's class was spent on discussing a research project in the works by the students to survey the surrounding community's access to healthy and nutritious food. Students expressed their thoughts on the project with one another and joined together in the end for an insightful discussion on the purpose and challenges of the research project.  Following the discussion in class it was time to work in the Peace Garden!

Shirley and Allison hard at work fertilizing the garden.
All Peoples is a continuation school located in South Central, Los Angeles. A majority of their students come from areas outside of the surrounding neighborhood, like Compton and Inglewood, and commute for hours everyday on public transportation to reach the school. Jamal from Compton stated that he wakes up at 4 a.m. every morning in order to make the commute to school on the bus which can take up to 2 hours one-way.

Joanna, Sharnica, and Shirley at All Peoples Christian Center in South Central.
Students have really taken ownership of the Peace Garden at All Peoples. Today students picked fresh vegetables, rosemary, and green onions all ready to eat from the garden. "Before the Peace Garden I did not know anything about about healthy eating," stated Sharnica, a student at All Peoples. Another student Joanna remarked, "The experience of working in the Peace Garden is incredible. Other people need to come and join!"

Check out more pictures from today on Flickr
To learn more about the Friends Peace Garden, visit our Peace Gardens page or download the fact sheet.
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