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The Program that Keeps Growing... Grandma D's Garden to Plate Program 2016-2017

As mentioned in my winter blog where I introduced the Kidston Garden to Plate program, my role with the program began last school year with the introduction of fresh, natural and delicious smoothies. I am excited to report that these smoothies have continued throughout this whole school year with no sign of stopping. Thank you to Ms. Nicole and the other volunteers for all their time helping me to ensure the Kidston students enjoyed this nutritious treat every Tuesday! We had our final smoothie day this week. Mrs. O'Brien's class generously harvested spinach from their garden beds to add. We also had a special "Kidston kindness" promotion, 2 smoothies for the price of 1. We encouraged students to share their extra smoothie with other students who may not have tried one yet. I have a feeling next fall will bring even more customers!

Another fun surprise project I shared in my last blog was the famous Purple Potato Fries Project! It started last fall with Mrs. O’Brien’s class fall cleanup of the garden. Purple potatoes were harvested among other things and the famous purple potato fries began. I started with Mrs. O'Brien's class and they were an instant hit. I am so excited to share that I was able to offer this fun opportunity to each class at Kidston. Students would help to prepare the fries and proudly serve them to their classmates at lunch break. Additional potatoes to complete our Purple Potato Fries project came from a wonderful garden fundraiser with Creighton Valley Farm. Students helped to weigh the bulk produce and package orders for our Kidston Families. This spring we decided to dedicate a whole garden bed to potatoes to be harvested this coming fall. Potatoes (of many colors) were planted by Mrs. Dunmore’s class in their garden box. One passionate student, Ethen - the garden box overseer has enthusiastically taken on the role of ensuring the potatoes are watered and hilled. Thank you Ethen! Be sure to check out my previous blog 'Garden To Plate Program' for the simple and delicious Purple Potato Fries recipe!

Also harvested last fall were tomatoes. They were put in the freezer and used during the year for our Kidston PAC hot lunch beautiful soups along with the remainder of the Kidston garden harvest. We were able to offer a variety of different soups to the PAC hot lunch program and had some fun encouraging the students to bring their own reusable mug and get a bonus refill on the house. Another favourite thing was each meal came with the treasured Grandma D macaroon which the students help to make. Don't worry parents, I made sure they showed me their empty mug before they got their treat!

Lately I’ve been around at recess break and garden club. I love seeing the students milling around the garden boxes. Together we identified the plants growing in the Garden Club boxes and enjoyed a snack of a couple varieties of lettuce, kale and the edible weed purslane. How fun was that?! The teachers were encouraged to share any extra lettuce they might have in their garden beds to supply our last PAC hot lunch of the year with some fresh goodness!

I am looking forward to helping out with Kidston Summer Watering Partnership Program (volunteers needed!) to help keep Kidston gardening enthusiasm growing... I anticipate many more soups, salads and baked potato fries for this fall! Happy Growing!

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