On September 23 Lincoln Elementary School hosted its annual Carnival–a fun event complete with jumpy houses, a dunk tank, apple-bobbing, and more. Kids and their families love this Friday night festivity, and this year, FoodCorps service member Elena Greenberg added something unusual–and healthy–to the classic carnival diet of candy and caramel apples. On the pathway from the dunk tank to the jumpy houses, the first ever Lincoln School Garden Farm Stand boasted fresh carrots, eggplant, lemon cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and basil — all harvested from the elementary school garden.
Families at the carnival tasted lemon cucumbers, many for the first time, and chose something from the farm stand table to take home with them. Third grade teacher Jen Lucas said that she loved the farm stand and thinks that it should be at more events. “I love that it educates parents about the school garden and what real, whole food looks like. And the fact that they are able to take something home from the garden is amazing, ” she says. Donations were accepted, but not required. All donations will be used for purchasing greenhouse plastic to be able to grow vegetables during the cold months of winter. A week after the carnival students are still talking about the carrots that they took home, how delicious they were, and how they are excited to grow more.
The day before the carnival, the after-school garden club harvested produce from the garden, Kids proclaimed they pulled the biggest and littlest carrots “in the world,” and how they wish they could harvest vegetables every time. This after-school garden club meets once a week and is lead by Katie Kirkwood, Health Educator from the Yavapai County Community Health Department (YCCHS), and myself (Elena Greenberg, FoodCorps service member for the Prescott Farmers Market). Third and Fourth graders in the club are learning about how to plant seeds, what soil is made of, and why it is important to try new foods.
This school garden was built in September of 2015 as a collaboration between YCCHS Prescott Farmers Market’s FoodCorps service member. The project and club are funded by a 21st Century Grant. In just one year, the small garden has produced over 50 pounds of produce, all of which has been donated to students and families. Lincoln Elementary School has a free and reduced price lunch percentage of over 60%, meaning that over half of the students come from low income households and often do not have enough to eat. The goals for this school garden is for all students to learn how to grow their own food and why it’s important to eat healthy, to produce enough fruits and vegetables to donate to families in need, and to provide a safe and happy place for students to thrive. To learn more about Elena’s work, check out prescottfarmersmarket.org.