Friday, July 31, 2009

Savoring Summertime

Summer is halfway over and one thing we have learned for sure is that kids everywhere love to garden, and even more, they love to EAT what they grow! This summer we have worked with kids from AA Lead, Bancroft Elementary, Vietnamese American Cultural Services Center, Columbia Heights Youth Club, Community of Hope, CentroNia, Garrison Middle School, CentroNia's pre-K incentive program and countless neighborhood "drop-ins" at Girard Children's Garden. Almost every child (over 350 participate weekly) has had a chance to prepare a recipe or take a bite of the fresh produce grown at each garden. A big hit this summer were spring rols, using basil,chives, carrots and cucumbers homegrown by the kids. All of the kids at the CentroNia programs and Girard Children's Garden have documented recipes with drawings and writings, and soon there will be a cookbook to share with everyone! Our open times at Girard Garden (every Monday 5-7, Wednesdays 4-6)have been the most fun - as the sun sets lower in the sky, kids trickle in from Girard Playground to water, plant seeds, paint, play games, dig for worms in the compost, chew on mint leaves and chop up cucumbers and squash for snacking.
Some things to look forward to:
1. Soon the corn at Girard Garden will be ready to harvest! Our awesome volunteer Dad Luis has been caring for the 8 ft tall stalks like his own children and they are going to be TASTY!
2. Soap sales! The 3rd and 4th graders at CentroNia are making herbal soaps using herbs from the CentroNia garden. There will be a sale in late August, and hopefully a stand at the Mt. Pleasant Farmer's market. Stay tuned!
3. September 7th - Eat-In and 1st year celebration at Girard Garden! Bring a dish and celebrate the garden as well as healthy foods for healthier kids on Labor Day. There will be lunch and the distribution of our Girard Garden cookbook (made by the kids).

So many things are happening, and we definitely could use some help! If you are interested in volunteering any time, please contact Lola at

In other news, check out Capital Area Food Bank's new program for gardeners (below). This sounds like a great way to get local fantastic front yard farmers to help out with any surplus from their efforts.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

If you have extra bounty from your garden this summer, consider an alternative to gifting all your neighbors with bags of zucchini. The Capital Area Food Bank wants you to donate that extra produce to your neighborhood social organization (food pantry, soup kitchen, summer kids care program), and we’ll show you how! When you sign up for our newly launched Grow A Row program, we will pair you with a social organization in your neighborhood. We also provide a nifty yard sign and receipts for tax deductions. Fresh produce is an essential component of a healthy diet, but is not frequently donated to soup kitchens or food pantries due to its perishable nature. Grow A Row is an excellent opportunity to bridge community, build relationships, and provide people of low income with access to fresh, local produce. To sign up or for more information contact Anika Roth or Jody Tick at or call us at (202) 526-5344.

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