We can’t thank you enough for your gifts of volunteer time and donations that support garden education for students throughout Pittsburgh. While winter is generally a slower period for the gardens, thanks to your support, nearly 400 second grade students spent this time learning to cook at our four Flagship Schools (Colfax, Dilworth, Faison, and Montessori). Winter cooking brings regular garden programming into the classroom during the cold weather months while the school gardens are dormant. And you make it all possible.

Your generosity helped open new horizons for students and their taste buds. Recipes the students made this winter included tabbouleh, squash ribbon salad, sunflower seed pesto, vegetable spring rolls, and beet and carrot slaw. Some of the more daring recipes went over surprisingly well, says garden educator Erin Gaughan. Take squash ribbon salad, spiralized zucchini and squash tossed in olive oil and herbs, for example. Gaughan said, “I thought beforehand, ‘raw squash— kids aren’t going to like this.’ And then they actually really enjoyed it.”

At the start of each of class, students reviewed ingredients in the recipe for that day and identified what part of each plant they came from “to show them that a lot of the foods we cook with come from plants when they’re not out in the garden to see it,” Gaughan said.

Ian Bonnet, our garden educator at Colfax and Dilworth schools, was “really happy to hear kids report that they tried making what we made in class at home with their families.” He utilized familiar recipes such as ramen to encourage students to try new additions, such as bok choy and mushrooms, to foods they already liked. “For the most part, students were all really good about trying everything,” says Bonnet. “When we made the beet and carrot slaw, I had one student tell me he really liked the ‘bloody apples,’” he adds laughing.  Thanks to your gifts and classroom volunteering, children are learning about and tasting new veggies like beets and zucchini and expanding their horizons.

Your generosity helped second-graders across the city enjoy learning about and tasting new foods and sharing recipes with their families over the winter.  Now that it’s springtime, we are excited to be planting in the gardens again with the students. Thank you for supporting this hands-on learning over the winter. Thank you for seeding the future!