It’s not too often that the Fourth of July brings on thoughts of the first days of the school year but out at the Langley Middle School garden we are gearing up for fall lunches! The last beds of peas and lettuce planted by 7th grade students in the spring are finally coming to their end of production and are being pulled in order to make room for a new bounty. Broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, and more are tucked neatly in rows preparing to fuel and nourish middle schoolers as they enter another academic year.
I love knowing that the work we put into the garden during summer vacation will be much appreciated by families and children alike. If there is one thing my month on this island working in these beautiful gardens has revealed, it is the myth that young children do not like vegetables. From day one engaging with the Susan Milan’s 7th grade enrichment class I saw an eagerness and interest from the students to learn about growing food. When I asked a boy from Ms. Milan’s class who was helping in the garden what his favorite way to cook kale was, he did not give me a questioning or disgusted look in response but instead surprised me by saying he liked it best raw! Raw kale! Who would have thought from a twelve year old boy? Even our younger volunteers from the Children’s Center continue to amaze me with their knowledge and attentiveness to the food they are having a hand in growing. Many say they help in their home vegetable gardens and planting is one of their favorite activities. A rejoicing cheer went out when the big bowl of salad came out for lunch at our last work party.
Needless to say, the South Whidbey School Gardens are beginning to witness and record the narrative of children’s love of fresh, tasty vegetables. We intend to meet the demand for delicious produce from day one this upcoming school year. So put your minds at ease, LMS-ers because this week into the ground go the carrot and cucumber seeds beside the broccoli starts and ripening tomatoes. You will have your veggies and eat them too!
See you in the garden!
-Kaitlin Greene, South Whidbey School Garden Apprentice