Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Friday, December 9, 2011


      Its been a great season so far for everyone. We are all going to miss being at the garden but i think we are all excited to have some time away from school for christmas. I hope the garden holds up well by itself, because there won't be many people there between now and early january. So many of the things we have grown are really coming along. The tomatoes are starting to show small signs of turning red. All of the students were very excited to find green tomatoes. 

       After class we spent a lot of time trying to clean up around the shed. It was quiet and adventure getting our broken wheelbarrow full of trash. We then had to wheel it all the way through the school, through the cafeteria and out back to the dumpster. After three loads the janitors started giving us dirty looks! However after our efforts the shed looks really good. All of the junk lying around is gone. So with that we end our year with a great looking garden and a great looking shed!

Merry Christmas Everybody!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flowers Feed the Soul

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.  ~Lindley Karstens

Today was a very cold day in the garden.  It was in the 40's when we arrived there at 8 o'clock this morning!  The kids were clearly just as cold when they came out.  In spite of the temperature, it was indeed a lovely day.  The sun shined brightly over the garden.  We spread some mulch, but overall, there was not much to do for maintenance now that we have reached the close of the semester.  The corn is coming along quite well and we found an enormous gourd, which was really cool.

Today was our last day with the kids.  We did a scavenger hunt and leaf rubbing.  During the scavenger hunt, we broke the kids into two groups and took them into the garden.  We asked them to find a variety of things (e.g. something red, a bug) and then took pictures of the objects they found.  We harvested the remaining ripe carrots and green beans and the kids took them back to their classroom to share.  It was quite encouraging to see them enjoying the vegetables from the garden!

It was sad to say goodbye to the kids.  I plan to be back next semester but I am not sure that I will have the same class.  They were a really great group of kids and it's wonderful to see the impact we've had on them, as well as the amount they have learned.  Until next semester...Happy Holidays!

"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home"- Gary Snyder

Today was our final day at the edible peace patch for this fall semester. We pulled the weeds around the beautifully growing vegetables. Hank brought some more pineapples to add to the pineapple forest. Its really amazing seeing how succesfully everything has grown this semester.  Its great to see the plants standing tall with the fruit and vegetables big and lush and delicious. Butterflies and bees have been spotted in the garden much lately which is great to see. Everything has really come along well.

At around 9:30 the students came out, they all greeted us with hugs. We were sad to inform the
students that it was the last class of the semester and that we would not be comming back next week, but reasured that next semester we would surely be back again. The teacher was especially sad to hear this. We had the kids draw some leaf rubbings as our first fun activity. Next we took them out to the garden where they pointed out different parts of plants , pointed at the butterflies and told us that they each have six legs and two wings. We did a scavenger hunt where the kids pointed out vegetables, flowers, leaves, roots, and any other things they have learned about this semester. I am always astonished to see how much they have learned. It was great, and is always great spending time       out at the edible peace patch.

                                                                             -Lilian Gonzalez 12.7.2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winding Down.

As our semester begins to come to a close we are left thinking about how much we will miss our students and our garden. We spread some of the last remaining mulch today and I am afraid to see what will happen when we are absent for three weeks and no one is there to tame the weeds. There are also so many beautiful things that we will all miss over our winter break. 

Our corn is really starting to take off. There are even some husks that are taking shape. Soon the corn will be the tallest plant in our garden. Besides the trees of course.

When Sam and Becca are woken up before 8 am they sometimes take on their evil bean mustache wearing alter ego's. When this happens it is not safe for the children to come out. Me and Nico can usually find safety in the shed or the branches of a tall tree. 

It was a great day and the kids could not get enough of the garden. We started with a scavenger hunt that was going great, but then three Monarch butterflies appeared. After that it took the guys a few minutes to get me and the kids to stop chasing them and back on task. It is fantastic to see the gorgeous butterflies appearing more frequently as the garden starts to develop.

The scavenger hunt continues. Sam helps a few kids find some of the more elusive leaves.

I could only manage to hold onto my camera for about five minutes before it was plucked from my hand by eager students. The chase is on.

The camera theif is caught and stands for a picture that captures his true remorse.

Before stealing the camera again and photographing friends. 

At this point the competitiveness of the scavenger hunt is at its peak. Im pretty sure I'm loosing to.

Despite the fact that the tomatoes are still green. It does not take our students long to figure out this trick. Nico got some great shots of their adventure through the garden.

The carrots are found and devoured!

Finally it all comes to a close with a game of sharks and minnows. The great thing about this game in kindergarden is that everybody wins, except for the college students. 

Saying goodbye to the kids at the end was a really difficult thing to do. We all hope that we will see them next semester and that they have a happy holiday. The garden will be very lonely without them. So will many of us.


 A bittersweet day in The Edible


The garden was buzzing with life today as we prepared for our final activity with the kids; a scavenger hunt! Two monarch butterflies darted about the garden as I chased them down trying to capture a picture. The bees were plentiful, waiting for us to test the kids to see if they could point out a pollinator. I stood for a moment in the center of the garden soaking up the sun and admiring how far we have come. The corn is taller then me, the beets are bursting out of the ground. The pole beans have climbed high weaving around the wood stakes we had set up for them. I grab a bean to snack on, delighting in the knowledge that it was grown organically by us college students and that it was as fresh of a vegetables one could ever get. In the world we live in today we forget where food comes from; the earth. Gardening bring us back and reminds us how importance this process is for our very survival. It also gives us a better appreciation of way nature works. The opportunity to learn these skills and be able to share it with the students is amazing! I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into when I signed up to work with this project but I have learned an incredible amount from both my peers and the students!

The kids were filled with a lot of energy today, bouncing up and down eager to explore the garden. We split up into our groups and sent the kids off on their scavenger hunts. Some of the things the list included were; finding the different plant parts, acting out the butterfly cycle, taking a picture of something that plants need to grow. Their excitement made it a little tough to keep my group together but all I had to do was ask them to find some bugs to get their attention. They all knew were to look and crowded around the overturned tree stumps. Their once shrieks of fear have been replaced by shrieks of excitement as they captured roly pollies and other assortment of bugs. I had to drag them away from the bugs  so we would have enough time to finish the rest of the scavenger hunt. The students were bursting with information pointing out to me the different plants by name. After an exciting scavenger hunt we ended the days lesson sprawled in the shade of a tree creating leaf rubbings for the students to bring home.  

We attempted a group picture and then said a bittersweet goodbye to our students. It has been a very rewarding experience to see the students progress over the weeks and to see how our work with them has  payed off. I can't wait to be back next semester! 

-Alina Dallmeier 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Friday Fun and Fund Raiser!

       "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. . . . Explore. Dream."
  ~ Mark Twain

          Coming into our last week of teaching at Lakewood, we have all been excited to return again in February at the start of our next semester to continue the small legacy we've established with the Peace Patch. This once grassy plot was dreamed and transformed into the fruitful garden we see today. We've been excited as well for the amazing news that (with funds raised) we have been approved to continue the project at 3 more elementary schools in the St. Pete area. Not only will these schools include our integrated schoolyard gardens, but approval has also been seen in the development of a small scale farm directly associated with food programs at the schools themselves! With this amazing news we've been scheming on ways to raise funding for these projects as well as get the name of The Edible Peace Patch Project known at Eckerd and surrounding city. We'll be needing many volunteers and students to help spread our reach in these new ventures and are ecstatic  to have more room for those in St. Pete who want to participate in positive change.
       Friday marked the beginning of our fund raising efforts with a bake and harvest sale on campus at Eckerd. Alina, Katie, and I spent the early morning hours harvesting squash blossoms, carrots, summer squash, cilantro, okra, green beans, salad greens, and gourds to sell. We really wanted not only to attract donations for sugary treats, but to show prospective volunteers and community members the fruits of our and the children at Lakewood's labor of love. 
           We spent the morning cleaning loads of salad greens and bundling cilantro talking of our deep love for this project and the ways it's touched each of us. We've all learned so much, not only from the children, but from the land and one another. Working in such a  dynamic group of passionate individuals fosters our power and determination to make this project everything in can be, and I know we're all looking forward to an amazing year of in depth planning and start-ups of our new projects.

Nasturtium, Buttercrunch, and Mesclun Green Salad
               By the time I had to head back to the garden, Katie and I had raised nearly $100 in the mere 45 minutes we had open the stand on Campus! I zoomed back to Lakewood, meeting Tristram for our Friday class' final assessment. The students did an amazing job of answering their questions and showed an amazing rate of retention, even yelling out vocabulary words on our tour through the garden. They were all overjoyed when "Mr. T" and I let them pull carrots to take home and show their families the awesome job they'd done in the garden this term.

- Erin Mattick

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Garden, Therefore I Am

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.  ~Mirabel Osler

 What a beautiful day it was in the garden today!  While it was a bit chilly, the sun warmed my fellow gardeners and myself rather nicely and the sky was wonderfully blue!  The progress I have seen in the garden is incredible.  We have full sized okra, beets, squash, radishes, carrots, green beans, and a plethora of green tomatoes well on their way to ripening.  

The sweet potatoes are especially enormous!

Today the kids did their final assessment.  It was absolutely wonderful and amazing to see how much they absorbed this semester.  At the beginning of this year, I could hardly get them to give a cohesive response to the questions and today, giving nearly the same assessment, they got all the answers right!  I am quite excited for the Harvest Festival next week.  Being a part of this project has confirmed for me that I want to teach and grow my own food for the rest of my life!

Until next time,