We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early at Clay with a meal we grew in our garden– kale chips and roasted sweet potatoes!
Cooking at school can be a challenge. Last year, we brought a portable fire pit to the school and roasted potatoes and onions in a real fire outside by the garden. This was incredibly fun, and allowed for student participation. However, the limited space in the fire pit and the length of time it took to heat up meant that our potatoes took hours to cook. There’s an oven in the teacher’s lounge that is available for use, but when we tried to make sweet potato fries a few weeks ago, the smoking oven set off the fire alarm. Nothing like the entire student body sniffing the smoky air and yelling, “Is this FOR REAL?” as they evacuate the building to discourage you from cooking!
Fortunately, a teacher from our preschool class recognized the problem and took some time out of her day to clean the oven the next week. At last, our students got to eat the fruits (or rather, veggies) of their labor. 4th grade chopped sweet potatoes, and helped Pre-K harvest the kale. Our wonderful volunteer Miss Kay managed the cooking process. We went from classroom to classroom with bowls of sweet potatoes and kale chips. When we had some left over at the end of the day, we stationed ourselves in the stairwell and kids grabbed sweet potatoes out of the bowls as they filed downstairs for dismissal.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! We are thankful for you, the people who value and support the experiences our students have in the garden each and every week.
-Carolyn Cosgrove Payne, Youth Educator