Thursday, July 30, 2009

Seed to Supper Update - August 2009

Our Seed to Supper campers have been busy in the garden these past five weeks - planting watermelons and sunflowers, learning about various herbs, weeding, watering and harvesting cucumbers, carrots, squash, lettuce, and potatoes! In the past two weeks, the vegetables, fruits and flowers of the garden have really started to bloom and produce, giving the children an opportunity to care for growing plants and do plenty of harvesting.

This week, we had a special guest, chef Carla Hall of Top Chef fame, visit the children in the garden. Carla did a fantastic cooking demo with the kids, helping them create a salad of garden greens, carrots and beets that they harvested themselves. The children made individualized vinaigrettes using herbs from our garden to put on their salads. The kids enjoyed Carla's positive energy and were enthusiastically involved in creating the food! (To the left, Seed to Supper campers help chop veggies and another camper shows off his beet-stained hands)

For more pictures of Carla and the kids in the garden, go to!

Though we have faced some challenges with the kids this summer, we have been thrilled to witness many children experiencing transformations in the garden - developing care and enthusiasm for plants, overcoming fears of insects and spiders, trying new foods and discovering a love for cooking. We are looking forward to another couple of weeks with the Seed to Supper kids and hope lots of folks will come out and see what's growing in the garden!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our favorite Bee-vangelist

Every summer, our long-time friend and local beekeeper Toni Burnham comes out to share with our Growing Food...Growing Together families and our Seed to Supper youth. A self-proclaimed "bee-vangelist", Toni travels around the DC area with her bees so as to increase people's understanding and appreciation of bees (while also decreasing their fear!).

Toni has hives all over the city, but for us she brings out an observation hive. In this clear glass hive, we can see about 1/10 of the bees who make up a normal-sized hive. This observation hive allows us to see the worker bees making honey, the queen laying eggs (at least 1,000 a day!), and the drones doing, well, nothing.

Toni also brings us a cadre of bee-made goodies like beeswax, soap, candles, and propolis (resin that bees produce to fill up holes in their hives, has lots of good uses for human health too:

Everyone loves being able to try on Toni's beekeeper protective clothing, give the bee smoker (tool used by beekeepers before handling a hive) a few sprays, and of course taste the best honey in the Washington DC area! One of my favorite quotes of Toni that she says as the children are tasting the honey produced by her bees is "this is what DC tastes like!"