Author Archives: Cassie Spindler

Building Garden Support through Sprout Scouts

Written By: Mariah Marten-Ray, FoodCorps Service Member with One Cool Earth

Cross-posted from FoodCorps.org’s Field Reports

Students had just returned from summer vacation, and I welcomed my Sprout Scouts—the after school garden club—into the garden at Virginia Peterson Elementary School in Paso Robles, CA.  It was a hot and arid day. With every foot step dust and dry grass poofed into the air, and I felt like a kindred soul to the wilty leaves of the tomatoes and squashes.  Kids began racing into the garden at full speed as if it was a waterpark, their faces mystified by how much change their ½ acre garden had gone through over the summer.  Where my eyes saw chaotic overgrowth, their eyes saw a jungle to explore and a school year of gardening projects.

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The Tiny, Mighty Greenhouse

Written By: Elise Chad, FoodCorps Service Member with Pittsburg Unified School District

What do you do when your school district is already rocking school gardens?

This was the conundrum I had when I first started as a FoodCorps Service Member at Pittsburg Unified School District last fall. PUSD has gardens at 11 of the 13 schools in the district thanks to a dedicated and passionate Garden Supervisor, Michelle DeCoy. She also gets the garden produce onto the school salad bars and holds monthly garden markets to engage with parents, staff, and students among many other tasks she accomplishes. PUSD’s Edible Garden Resource Center has a very ambitious program and I was happy to help where I could.

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Deep Tissue Kale Massage

Written By: Sara Lieber, FoodCorps Service Member with Sierra Harvest

Last week I taught classes of first, second, and third graders how to “massage kale.” Students were kale2016divided up into groups of 4 or 5 at a table and took turns retrieving kitchen tools and ingredients, measuring, and massaging. Below are the steps to make your own massaged kale salad.

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Small Steps are Huge Wins: Two Months of Service Told in Haikus

Written By: Amy Garfinkel, FoodCorps Service Member with San Diego Unified School District

Healthy school meal options in San Diego Unified include: savory tortilla soup, scratch-cooked ribs, whole grain buns, fat-free milk, and a plethora of fresh fruits and veggies from the salad bar.

Healthy school meal options in San Diego Unified include: savory tortilla soup, scratch-cooked ribs, whole grain buns, fat-free milk, and a plethora of fresh fruits and veggies from the salad bar.

It’s September 1st
I’m thrilled to start my service
It’s a dream come true.

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Serving Food and Serving Communities

Written by: Brianna Egan, FoodCorps Service Member with Pajaro Valley Unified School District

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Students from the Jóvenes SANOS youth group voiced their perspectives on the lunchrooms at Watsonville High and E.A. Hall Middle School as part of a design-thinking activity I facilitated with them. The current cafeterias are “old school” and “institutionalized”. They’d love to see more Mexican food, a salad bar, and even a fresh juice bar.

The fall season brings with it a time of reflection—a time to gather the final harvests of summer and to lay down plans, like cover crops, for the coming year. This fall, in my second month of service through FoodCorps at Pajaro Valley Unified School District, I am reflecting on my whirlwind introduction to school food and laying down plans on how I will work to connect kids with healthy food this year.

Every morning on my commute to the school district’s offices in Watsonville, California I pass by acres and acres of farmland. I turn my head to make out the fruits on the rows and I see farmworkers, bent over, tending to the fields. Raspberries, strawberries, lettuce greens, hoodies, denim…they blur into shades of deep green and dust brown. I cannot wrest away the thought that the growing of our food is intimately connected to people, to families, and to communities.

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