Spring Garden Dinner 2015

14 Apr
About the event:

Green Plate Special’s Spring Garden Dinner on June 6 will feature a multi-course menu, created by Chef and Executive Director Laura Dewell, based on cuisine of the former Republic of Georgia. Dishes will incorporate fresh herbs and vegetables from the Green Plate Special garden, many of which were planted and cared for by middle school youth participants in Green Plate Special after-school programs and camps. All proceeds from the evening will benefit Green Plate Special’s youth gardening and cooking programs.

To purchase tickets by mail or phone, contact Laura Waltner at lwaltner@greenplatespecial.org or 206-228-8645

Spicy tomato soup and sunshine with YMCA’s MAC Program

27 Feb

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt felt more like spring in the garden than February as the young men and women of YMCA Young Adult Services’ Member Ambassador Committee (MAC) harvested baskets of lettuce and pulled radishes for a salad last week. We spent an hour exploring the garden together, tasting collard greens and sorrel and enjoying the sunshine. This left just one more hour in the kitchen to whip up a tomato soup, made with tomatoes frozen from our garden last winter. The addition of dried chili peppers from our garden made a spicy and flavorful soup that we ate around the table together, along with pickled green beans and bread and butter pickles, and our simple lettuce and radish salad.

MAC is a group of young adult leaders at the YMCA who guide and support YMCA programs.  MAC members provide service and leadership through public speaking, peer engagement, event planning, volunteerism, and legislative education.  MAC members also do outreach in the community to engage other youth in services. They meet in the 2100 Building, next door to our garden, and this was the group’s first visit to the Green Plate Special garden.

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A New Season with Shabazz Delta Academy

23 Feb

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOne of our longest-standing partners, the Shabazz Delta Academy began a series of four spring gardening and cooking programs at Green Plate Special on Saturday. During this series, we will discuss seasonality and nutrition, practice knife skills and planting, and do a special project to learn about what a balanced diet looks like in another part of the world.

This Saturday was all about getting comfortable in the garden and kitchen. In the green house, the young women planted broccoli, fennel, cilantro, and kohlrabi seeds. Outside in the garden, they harvested chives and greens, and talked about what is in season now, and why it’s important to be aware of what is in season. Then, they created colorful entries for the Green Plate Special Garden Journal, to share their experience with future groups of youth who may be harvesting the vegetables they planted, later in the season.

Several of these young women have been part of Green Plate Special programs with Shabazz Delta Academy in past years, so they were ready to slice and dice after a quick knife skills refresher. They made butternut squash and potato soup with potatoes and fresh herbs from the garden, then ate their seasonal meal together at tables dressed with bouquets of the first flower blooms of the season.

Summer Camps in 2015

11 Feb
Green Plate Special summer camp student

Summer camp youth made dried fruit and gummy worm “worm bins.”

We are adding a second summer camp this year, after the smashing success of our first Green Plate Special camp last August. From apple butter to tomato salads, our summer camp youth learn to create dishes from harvest to table at the height of our summer growing season. Camps are open to youth entering 6th through 8th grade in fall 2015. We offer generous financial support to make programs accessible for all youth.

To download registration information, click here.

Summer Camp 1 | June 22 – 26
Monday-Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Cost: $350 for five days. We offer a generous sliding scale to make this program available to all families.
Registration deadline: Friday, May 29
Summer Camp 2 | August 17 – 21
Monday-Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Cost: $350 for five days. We offer a generous sliding scale to make this program available to all families.
Registration deadline: Friday, May 29
Summer camp youth 2014

Youth from our first summer camp in August, 2014 harvested apples and Asian pears from the trees next to our garden to make apple-pear butter.


Recipe: Cabbage Slaw with Dried Fruit and Nuts

6 Feb

This lemon and ginger cabbage slaw will brighten up any winter meal! Nuts of your choice give this salad a protein kick, and dried fruit adds bursts of sweetness. Read about making this salad with a group of students from the FareStart Barista Training program.

Cabbage Slaw with Dried Fruit and Nuts

1 medium green cabbage
1 medium red onion
3/4 cup dried cranberries, or other dried fruit, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
2 lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Black pepper to taste
1 cup your choice of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, salted peanuts, slivered or sliced almonds

Make it

1. Cut cabbage in half, remove core, and slice very thinly
2. Peel red onion, cut in half, and slice very thinly
3. In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, red onion, and dried fruit together
4. Add the oil to a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the ginger and garlic and warm, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds to soften them without browning. Remove pan from the heat.
5. Add the sugar, salt and cumin to the pan and mix well. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar.
6. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss well.
7. Add the seeds or nuts of your choice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes: This salad tastes best if it sits for at least 1 hour and can sit overnight. If you will be waiting to eat the salad, complete steps 1-6 and add the nuts or seeds just before serving.

Fresh pomegranate seeds can be used in place of dried fruit.

FareStart Explores Healthy Options

5 Feb

When we take a break from the office at Green Plate Special, we often head over to get coffee or a sandwich from the FareStart Café next door. The young men and women working behind the counter are part of the FareStart Barista Training program for young adults. Similar to the core FareStart Adult Program, the eight-week Barista Training and Education Program provides job training and placement, life skills, employment counseling, classroom, and on-the-job training for the competitive espresso industry.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThrough a new partnership, we have the privilege of welcoming each new cohort of trainees at the FareStart Café to our neighborhood with a knife skills class. During our two hours together, we also discuss the importance of composting whenever possible, and the group gets a chance to explore the garden with us.

After spending time in the garden tasting the greens and herbs that were growing, the most recent cohort of FareStart Barista Training students practiced their knife skills by making a fresh cabbage salad with ginger and lemon dressing. We also discussed packing healthy and cost-effective snacks to eat between meals. Our healthy snack options, like popcorn, nuts, and fruit, prompted one young man to ask about the sometimes dramatic difference between the cost of an apple and the cost of a hamburger. This question sparked a discussion around the table about the expenses and time involved in growing fresh fruits and vegetables, fair wages in agriculture, and the long-term advantages of eating nutritious food.

We enjoyed interesting discussions, had fun introducing new vegetables, and were impressed by the quick development of knife skills among this group of young people. We look forward to reconnecting with them during our morning coffee breaks for the next several months!


23 Dec
The largest number of youth yet, who have experienced food growing and cooking in our garden and kitchen classroom, participated in seed planting activities, and learned about healthy snack choices.
Volunteers logged 715 hours in the Green Plate Special garden and kitchen in 2014, teaching youth, pulling weeds, painting, planting, and getting our kitchen classroom ready for youth.
This number doesn’t even count all of the snap peas, carrots, and raspberries that were gobbled up before they could be officially counted. Our first year in our location in Rainier Valley was bountiful; we have enough tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and beans preserved, dried and frozen to support all our programming until the bounty starts again!
Green Plate Special turns 5 years old in January! Thank you for your support along the way.
Your support is very valuable to us, and can make 2015 the best year yet for Green Plate Special! As this year comes to a close, please consider making a donation to Green Plate Special in the following ways:

Join Our Board

Please contact us if you would like to join the Green Plate Special Board of Directors in 2015: diggit@greenplatespecial.org

Donate at the checkout at Whole Foods Market South Lake Union through Dec 31



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