June 16th, 2016

When the school year comes to a close we traditionally enjoy a celebration! After a full school year of harvesting, planting, pruning, cooking, and plenty more it is exciting to see how much we and the gardens have developed. This year we had a number of celebrations at various school gardens thanks to our garden educators stationed at each school we began working with years ago. (Your children at these schools know them as Farmer Molly, Farmer Paul, and Farmer Courtney!) Read on to find out a little bit about what we’ve all been up to!

Farmer Courtney ended the school year with a whopping two events! (If anyone of you are familiar with event planning you know how wild and crazy things can get in just the planning stages!) The first event went along with Helen S. Faison Arts Academy’s Muffins for Moms event in celebration of mothers day. Students and their mother figures (often with muffins in hand) made their way out to the garden where they could engage in a scavenger hunt, plant some seedlings, and tour the garden their children have worked hard to maintain and learn from. The second event went in similar fashion as the first celebration yet occurred in honor of the father figures in the children’s lives. Uncles, brothers, pops, and dads with students helped plant many of the peppers, tomatoes, numerous herbs, and even a squash plant in the garden. It was thrilling to see the smiles and pride on students faces as they often explained to the adults how some of the crops grow and are cultivated.

Farmer Molly gathered Dilworth Traditional Academy students together for an all out garden party! There was live music by Funky Fly Project! Families brought dishes to share in a potluck dinner. Farmer Molly herself headed a smoothie making table. A local beekeeper brought some of her gear for students to try on, as well as some really cool native bee specimens in bug boxes. Handfuls of children released their energy by running around the open grassy area next to the garden while others planted tomatoes, nasturtiums, and basil. Overall I heard it was a great success. More people attended than ever before in the garden!

Farmer Paul supported a marvelous Garden Night at Colfax Elementary! Families joined their Colfax student at the school garden for an evening of fun activities, and lasagna dinner! Between the raised garden beds students gave tours of the space they have all been learning and creating in throughout the school year. A tall raised bed (formally the worm bin) was positioned for a water cycle mural painting. Farmer Paul helped participants put together a smoothie! There was so much greatness going on in the garden at once, it was a blast!

All in all, the Grow Pittsburgh education team certainly felt a lot of love in the school gardens this school years’ end. We could see it in the proud smile of a student explaining to their adult what is a garlic scape, and on the green kale smoothie mustached child’s lips as he carefully painted where the clouds would go on a water cycle mural. Have a happy, safe summer out there! Keep growing (in and out of the gardens), and keep glowing!

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