This is Gabrielle reporting in as Growing Food and Sustainability’s Youth Farm Director (if you don’t know us yet, we’re a Summer of Solutions program and Local Initiative in Middleton, WI). A big goal of ours is to provide fresh, local produce to the Middleton community. To that end, we have donated over 2,500 pounds of produce to the MOM Food Pantry (all by bike trailer!) in the past two growing seasons. We also love donating our produce to other good causes, like the Middleton High School Ecology Club’s Annual Organic Dinner!
Last year was the first year that Organic Dinner featured produce grown right at the school. This year, we teamed-up with Ecology Club to make it even better: all of the produce used in the meal was grown at the Youth Farm, and all of the cooking was done by the students themselves! We had a great dinner featuring pasta with pesto and tomato sauce, bread, kale salad, and ice cream. Many local businesses supported our efforts and 130 community members turned out for the dinner. What a success! Continue reading →
Even without campers this week at Growing Food and Sustainability, the farm has been bustling with activity. Activities included planning for our second camp session, building a produce wash table, planning for our harvest festival, and our main focus, “beautifying” the farm in preparation for our on-farm dinner.
The beautification process included a lot of weeding and mulching of pathways, two tasks that involved a lot of time in the sun and physical effort. In other words, after a day on the farm we left covered in dirt and sweat. Although at times it was hard, uncomfortable work, the dirt and sweat didn’t fail to make me feel like I had done a good, hard day’s work that made a positive impact on the program.
GFS kicked off this fall with two bountiful, joyful events! On October 15th we worked with the MHS Ecology Club to put on the 8th annual Organic Dinner. It was really exciting because this was the first year the meal included produce that was grown in the school gardens. As has become tradition, The Roman Candle Pizzeria catered the main course, which was a pasta dish containing our veggies, Clasen’s, a local bakery, provided bread sticks, and the Chocolate Shoppe donated ice cream.
In order to have enough fresh veggies in the middle of October, a few weeks ahead of time we harvested a bunch of kale, onions, peppers, and eggplant and blanched and froze them so we could have fresh veggies, in the pasta dish. We also harvested kale the day of the event for a fresh kale salad. Between the dinner and the silent auction, the event raised $1,400 which will be split between the Ecology Club, the school’s Envirothon team, our program Growing Food and Sustainability, and the Friends of Pheasant Branch, the stewards of our local nature preserve.
It was a really great experience to work with both of the high school Ecology Clubs on the Organic Dinner. There was a lot of fun to be had harvesting the veggies and I think the experience of creating a delicious, sustainable meal to serve to their teachers, friends and family was really rewarding.
MHS Ecology Club students preparing kale and eggplant