Cotton’s Greening

IMG_20150722_081223Playing a particularly athletic morning game.

My name is Myra and I’m a recent graduate from Career Academy High School. I’m a crew member of Gateway Greening’s Dig It STL program, which is an eight week youth employment program that educates and strengthens teens while beautifying the community through urban agriculture. At Dig It we lead and assist volunteer groups and tours and learn hands on basic agriculture and construction skills to help the gardens that Gateway Greening supports. We also take field trips to other gardens and farms. The best part of all? We cook with Chefs using the food we harvest from Bell Garden. Throughout the program, I have learned, grown and networked with plants, animals and people in my community. Im honestly considering to further my education in urban farming because of my wonderful experience at Gateway Greening. Maybe one day I will own an organic farm and name it “Cotton’s Greening”.


Eating guest chef tacos (Myra on the left).


Thom leading a field trip group at the compost station.


Michael leading a field trip group in harvesting herbs.

Time Flies

How can it already be the last week of Dig It?! We had a great field trip to Earthdance Farms with a whole bunch of different teen farm groups last Wednesday. IMG_20150715_115719

We harvested cherry tomatoes, husk cherries, and tomatillos– summer weather is here at last! It was Emmanuel’s first time tasting a cherry tomato:IMG_20150715_100342
We also worked in Clay Elementary’s garden, and did a Medicinal Herbs workshop. We made an all-purpose rosemary olive oil balm and learned about herbs that can help with bites and burns, as well as cold and flu.
On Friday, we spend the whole day preparing for our end-of-summer Family Night. We cooked an enormous meal with 3 different chefs– roast chicken with bacon, corn, and mashed potatoes, kale salad, squash and onions, and peach pie. We made flower bouquets and practiced speeches. Despite the sticky, hot weather, we had a great turnout and everyone enjoyed themselves.IMG_20150717_181736
It’s been a transformational summer. One of the great parts about this program is that we use a tool called Straight Talk, which creates space for honest dialogue between crew members and staff about what we’re doing well and how we could grow. This creates confidence– crew know exactly what they already rock at– and it gives us all an opportunity to work on our challenges. Everyone has challenges. What matters most is that we’re open about them and willing to work to improve them. Our crew has become more mature, more hardworking, more confident, and more collaborative in just 8 weeks. I’m so excited to imagine the possibilities for Dig It in the future.

Get Up, Get Out, Get Growing: Gateway Greening’s (Lucky) Summer Intern’s First Days

Hello! Allow me to introduce myself – I’m Hayden Andrews. I graduated from Webster University this past May, with a degree in Media Communications and Photography. I’ll be Gateway’s Communications Intern – about which I am thrilled – from now until mid-August. Catch me on the blog a few times a month, or out and about at various gardens – I’ll be the one with the camera.


My first few days with G.G. have been filled with (literal) warmth and inspiration. Last week, I was introduced to the staff both at the office and around town. I visited Bell Garden, City Seeds Urban Farm, and the Carriage House – I was on quite the mission – tagging along on a Saturday morning garden tour, hosted by Gateway’s Hannah. What tranquil places to be! Being outside on June morning and loving what you do, with people who love what they do…talk about endorphins!

Being a part of Gateway, I have sorted Swiss chard with prison rehabilitation program members, interviewed high school students who think planting peas is a fulfilling way to spend a Saturday, stopped by gardens in parts of the city I had never heard of, picked cucumbers with a 6 year-old, and taken home bushels (bushels!) of fresh veggies. Gateway Greening is literally making me a better person from the inside out, and it’s only week two!

I can’t wait to see what’s in store this summer. Besides kale, of course.

Thanks for reading.

– H

Dig It – Diamond Tyler


Hello. My name is Diamond Tyler. I am 17 years old and I will be a senior this coming August at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy. My favorite vegetable is broccoli. To be completely honest I am a contradiction to myself. I like to be safe but I always take risks, but that’s a different story. Let me tell you about this week’s journey.

On Wednesday, the Dig It crew and myself worked with Dean, who helps us with construction, on making compost bins. While working with Dean we use tools like drills, handsaws, clamps, tape measurers, and a whole bunch of wood and screws. The first time construction was brought to us this summer I honestly thought that I was going to hate it, but it turned out to be not so bad. It’s a great stress reliever. After all the hard work was done, we ate food that was prepared by two chefs and three Dig It crew members. We ate pork tenderloin, garlic mash potatoes, collard greens with chopped up bacon, onions, squash, and a lemon tart pastry for dessert. This was one of the best meals so far. When I ate this meal, it felt like home. Even though I didn’t eat the onions and squash because I’m not a fan of those vegetables, I know they had to be tasty

ChristineOn Thursday, the Dig It crew split off into groups. I was in the red group this week, along with Myra, Emmanuel, and Michael. We were working with young girls that are in an organization called “Girls Inc.” We helped them weed their raised beds, play games, and read books. Many of them said they would like to be farmers after that experience. After, we went to Crown Center, which is a Senior Living building. This time we didn’t work with Happy Planters, a group of seniors who help with the raised beds. While we were there, we harvested carrots, basil, lemon basil, collard greens, peppers, beets, and cabbage. There was so much cabbage and they were so big that the scissors broke. We were in so much shock, it was hilarious. After that, we distributed what we harvested into 12 bags for the Happy Planters. We gave the remaining produce to the café within their building. The lady we gave it to was so excited that we brought it to her, she lit up and that put a smile on my face. It was an amazing feeling.

This week so far has been amazing. It has been so helpful and beneficial in so many ways. I was able to relieve stress while gaining more knowledge and experience. Working with Dig It has been phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

5 Vegetables You Can Eat Root to Stem

5 Vegetables You Can Eat Root To Stem

We toss away cabbage leaves, chop off turnip greens, and peel through potato skins. But many are unaware that when they do this, they are mindless throwing away tons of nutrients!

In some cases, the part we discard is even more nutritious than the part we include in our meal! Beet greens, for example, have more than 8 times the nutritional content of beet roots!

Here are 5 more vegetables you can eat root to stem and get the most nutritional bang for your buck!


You can enjoy both the crunchy root of a turnip along with its leafy greens! Like with beets, the greens of the turnip also contain far more vitamins and minerals that the root. You can also eat the greens of radishes like you would turnip!


There is no doubt that chard is known for its huge, leafy greens, but we shouldn’t forget about their beautiful stems. Chard stems can be chopped small and sauteed, providing a great crunch to offset the texture of wilted leaves.


Most of us are use to just eating the broccoli florets, but what you may not realize is stalk is edible too! The stalk can be shaved and added to any slaw.


It is hard to find a recipe that doesn’t instruct you to peel your potatoes first. But, this is where you find most of the plant’s fiber. So next time the direction calls for peeling your potato, be a rebel and let them show some skin.


It is hard to find a carrot that still has its greens attached! So it is no wonder why most people have never eaten them! But carrot tops can add great depth to dishes. Some people can be a bit sensitive to carrot greens, so test the waters by eating a small amount your first time.

Not only is eating the entire vegetable a huge boost of nutrition, it is also much more cost effective! And you are much more likely to find these veggies with all their parts intact through local farmers than you are at the supermarket.

So the next time you are cruising around the farmers market, think of those radishes and beets with their greens as an awesome 2-for-1 deal!

Check out these ideas for using your vegetables root-to-stem. And if you are interesting in learning more about eating root-to-stem, her is another great article!



Hannah Eddy is currently a dietetic intern through Fontbonne University, where she is also getting her Master’s in Multidisciplinary Health Communication Studies. When she isn’t running through Forest Park or chowing down at Food Truck Fridays, you can find her writing for her holistic health and nutrition blog, The Wholey Trinity.