Enticements are in place to encourage green thumbs and other volunteers to help steward gardens through the summer months at area schools.
As a notice stated, “The gnomes are in place but they can’t manage the weeds alone.” Helping out at the different schools is an opportunity to learn from one another while checking out other gardens at weekly Walla Walla Weeding and W(h)ining Wednesdays hosted by Walla Walla Valley Farm to School.
Information about each work Wednesday in the garden rotation is on Facebook at ubne.ws/2Nv5XC6. Visit five times for one hour of maintenance and take home a bottle of local wine or a pint of honey. Gardeners meet from 7-8:30 p.m., including this Wednesday and Aug. 1, 8, 15 and 22.
All that weeding pays off. A bonus from the summer maintenance project is a bounty of fresh, organic produce and flowers that are sold at the Edison Elementary School, 1315 E. Alder St., student-run stand. Hours are 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursdays until Aug. 9.
The tradition of school gardens started in spring 2007 at Sharpstein Elementary and Garrison Middle School. The wwvfarm2school.org website reports school gardens also exist at Prospect Point Elementary (2009), Green Park (since 2010), Berney Elementary, Edison and Pioneer Middle School.
Parents interested in providing experiential learning opportunities for students while promoting nutrition started the garden at Sharpstein. A science teacher and an after-school activities coordinator started Garrison’s garden, which is maintained by an extracurricular garden club.
“It was a shared vision that the garden would link food, culture, health and the environment through hands-on experience.
“Growing and preparing food is a powerful way for children to discover that healthy food tastes good, and to learn about the cycles, seasons and other processes of nature,” according to the website.
Cooking classes at the middle schools use ingredients from the gardens and introduce students to healthy recipes which they can easily reproduce at home.
Walla Walla Valley Farm to School inspires healthy communities through food, farm and garden experiences.
Wwvfarm2school.org has also posted several enticing recipes, applications for AmeriCorps jobs and information about volunteering possibilities.
And speaking of wicked-good recipes, consider the Roasted Tomato Ragout at the website or the Classic Vinaigrette, which blends together 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional), 1 tablespoon honey, 1/3 cup vinegar, and 1/2 cup olive oil and/or canola oil.
Other suggested ingredients for the dressing include honey, herbs, garlic and shallots.
Try different types of vinegar or using lime or lemon juice instead of vinegar.
For more information, contact Beth Thiel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-386-2037.