Last Thursday was the final day of the STEP Program here at Garfield Community Center. We had a celebration day and watched The Avengers while eating cupcakes and chicken wings. The garden looks beautiful and the youth did an amazing job of revitalizing the space. I am really proud of their work. Ariel of Taste International will be taking over the garden once we leave. Her plans are to create a program based around eating food coming from the garden and utilizing the natural relationship between the garden outside and the kitchen inside. She is an energetic and encouraging mentor who has a great rapport with the teens at the center. Her program will be Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. Thank you for checking out our blog, and please stop by the garden and say hi.
My name is Da’Quan and I go to Garfield High School and I like to play video games. I learned how to make eggsbendict
My name is Arsean the tech bomb. I don’t like school but I go to Rainier Beach. I’m a rapper and I’m my favorite musician. What I learned about gardening was that mulch keeps the plant moist and warm and compost gives it nutrients.
My name is Eliezer. My favorite food quesadillas. I like listening to mostly all music. What I learned [in the program] was working like a team. I go to South Lake High School.
I’m Alan Chen and my school is Nova High School. The reason I volunteer for Garfield Community Center is to do something after school instead of going home early. [In the program], I learned about making friends.
Hi my name is Sydney Daisy. I attend Garfield High School. My favorite rap artist is Kendrick Lamar. My favorite thing I learned was about [how to build] hoop houses.
My name is Lisa Ngo. I’m 16 years old and I go to Nathan Hale High School. I like doodling cartoons and I like listening to classical music. My favorite movie would be Spirited Away. What I have learned from cooking here was some useful knife skills. It was really helpful for me.
Hi my name is Audrey McKinney. I got to Nathan hale High School. Also I am on the swim team. What I learned through this program I learned how to cook good stuff that are healthy for you. Also I learned to save money for the food.
I go to YEP. I like cooking and eating. I learned how to build numerous structures for the garden.
My name is Amen Farra, I am 17 years old and I go to middle college High school at Seattle University as a Junior?. I worked with STEP program students at Garfield Community center. I really loved each activity we did in this program. We went out to cook with different people, made an event at the community center and planting some native plants and watering them at the community garden. I enjoyed every second I spent at STEP Program it was fun :)
Hello, my name is MacKenzie Tinsley. I am 16 years young & a junior @ James A. Garfield High School. While I was employed with STEP, I learned that you can make something out of nothing :) Thanks for reading!!!
On Wednesday the 8th, we went to Green Plate Special where Laura had a project ready for us. We made Ground Cherry Jam. Ground Cherries are a perennial berry in the nightshade family that grows close to the ground and with a husk around it similar to a tomatillo.
They broke up into groups…
And started squeezing lemons…
And adding the sugar, 4 cups! Ground cherries taste pretty tart on their own.
The cherries went into the pot with the sugar and the lemon juice to boil.
Then they mashed the cherries up as they boiled, and once it had boiled down…
They ladled the jam into tiny mason jars.
The jars and lids were already sterilized and super hot from the boiling water. Lids were affixed and screwed down…
labels were applied and…
On Thursday the 8th, Ariel invited a baker friend of hers to come in and teach the youth how to bake a pumpkin cake with caramel cream cheese frosting. It was amazingly delicious. Ariel’s program is open to youth who want to learn about cooking. She is running the class after school out of the community center’s kitchen. It is free, and Ariel is an incredibly inspiring and youth empowering instructor. She loves cooking and hopes to integrate the garden into the class in the spring. Showing youth the connection between what grows outside and what goes into our bellies is her mission! Check out the cake:
We just started working with Ariel from Taste International. Every Tuesday and Thursday she will be working with the STEP Program to cook healthy, delicious snacks and meals. On the 6th, they made quesadillas with potatoes, chicken, and peppers.
We are busily preparing for the Open House coming up on the 28th of November. The Open House is being planned and executed by the youth in order to showcase the work they have done in the garden. It is really an amazing change they have created in a few short weeks. Please join us at Garfield Community Center on the 28th of November at 5:00pm to take a tour of the garden and eat some healthy treats.
We have been super busy at the garden. Here’s an update:
* We are busily preparing for our garden’s open house event on the 28th of November. We are showcasing to the Central District community the garden’s progress. We will post a flier for the even in the next few days.
* We finished constructing our bicycle wheel Trellis. We received donated wheels from R + E Cycles in the U-district and Bike Works in Columbia City. Thanks, guys!
* We created an 8 foot tall teepee bamboo trellis for growing beans next summer.
* We harvested our first crop of lettuce and donated it to Centerstone Food Bank.
* The youth have been spending some time over at Green Plate Special, a nearby garden and cooking project spearheaded by Laura Dewell. She has been showing them how to cook amazing, healthy food and how to grow it.
* Sewing seeds into peat pods. This is mainly so we can learn about the seed to garden to plate process. Unfortunately it is too late in the season to transplant these little seedlings, but it has been fun seeing them grow. Below are some pictures from our seed sowing day.
* I picked up donations from Tadpole Haven and Classic Nursery on Tuesday. Tadpole Haven is run by an amazing woman named Shirley. She propagates native plants and mainly sells them to restoration projects. I fell in love with her job. We got a ton of native plants from her including:
- Indian Plum
- Oregon Grape
- Hairy Honeysuckle
- Black Gooseberry
- American Cranberry
- Red Huckleberry
- Evergreen Huckleberry
- Black Cap Raspberry
Don Rosebrook runs Classic Nursery, and he donated a huge box of seeds to us for spring planting. Such an incredibly generous donation! It has been a pleasure seeing how the extended community of this little garden has really pitched in to help us make this garden beautiful. More pictures soon!