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Friday, May 4, 2012

Our 4th Annual Harvest Fest: What a success!

In honor of yet another successful school year of growing, educating, learning, and coming together, Lakewood Elementary hosted the Edible Peace Patch's 4th Annual Harvest Fest on Thursday evening. Welcoming the friends, family, and community associated with Lakewood, the Edible Peace Patch volunteers hosted around 200 guests. Upon arrival, everyone gathered in the garden for a tour. Director and founder, Dr. Kip Curtis planted a young Slash Pine in memory of our dedicated volunteer, Nathan Mosby. Nate, known as "Nate the Great" by his students, passed away in a tragic accident in early April. His memory will live on in the garden, as well as our hearts.

Food was prepared on site by our dedicated volunteer educators. The vegetarian dishes showcased a variety of vegetables grown in our garden, giving everyone who came a sample of the delicious harvest we can produce together. While enjoying a light dinner, local singer/songwriter and environmental activist, Jun Bustamante, entertained the crowd with a sample of her works. As Dr. Kip Curtis said, "Jun is one of the hardest working local musicians there is!" You can check her out at: http://www.junonline.us/. Plants from the garden were raffled off as well including strawberry bushes, cucumber vines, pumpkins, collards, and more!

The crowd was also entertained by many of Lakewood's talented students including the 3rd grade singers performing the "Garden Song" and the 5th grade string ensembles. Smiling faces were to be seen all around the room as people ate, swapped stories, and enjoyed the performances. Having a great time together, working for a common purpose, and celebrating the growth we have all experienced from the garden made all the planning, early morning meetings, hot Florida days, and hard work really worth while. But hey, isn't that what a community is all about?

For me, seeing this event come together through the teamwork of all the volunteers made me proud to be a part of the Peace Patch family. I've been on the project for over two years now and every semester the students, the educators,  the spreading involvement, and the growth of the garden itself makes it more and more evident just how valuable this space is. As this year draws to a close, I would like to take the time to thank everyone involved in the project. Without everyone it would not be possible. To the administration of Lakewood, thank you for allowing us to build the foundation of the project in your schoolyard. To the students of Lakewood, your brilliance, smiles, and creative minds give this project its most fundamental meaning. To the volunteer educators, you all are the backbone of the Peace Patch and your time and efforts are deeply appreciated. To the curriculum development ladies, thanks for discovering and applying innovative lesson plans each week. To Erin Mattick, our Garden Manager, you go girl! Thank you for sharing your urban agriculture skills with us every week. To Dr. Kip Curtis, for having the inspiration, courage, and dedication to create and forge ahead with such a revolutionary and much needed non-profit; you have given light to the reason we are all here. Without you, the Edible Peace Patch would not be celebrating four years of community outreach, environmental education, and raising nutritional awareness in the Southside of St. Petersburg. And finally, to every person who has come in contact with The Edible Peace Patch Project, your encouraging support will continue to help us grow into the future.

If you would like to learn more about the Edible Peace Patch Project or get involved, please visit our website at www.peacepatch.org

See you on the Patch!
Katherine Schaefer
Edible Peace Patch Volunteer Coordinator

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