Green Plate Special’s summer produce stand will begin this Thursday, June 18 from 11 am-3 pm. We are right around the corner from the Green Plate Special garden again this year, but we’ve moved across Walker to the corner of Rainier Ave S, outside the Parent Trust building.
In the final weeks of June, shoppers will find peas, greens, herbs, and berries, among other early summer produce. For weekly updates about what’s for sale, like Green Plate Special on Facebook!
Interns sell produce in summer 2014
Our summer produce stand is managed by our youth interns, who are alumni of Green Plate Special’s after-school and summer camp programs. Youth interns continue to use their garden knowledge from Green Plate Special programs to harvest, weigh, and package produce for sale. They also gain basic job skills by interacting with customers, calculating totals and counting change, and marketing the stand with colorful signs.
Please support Green Plate Special programs and youth interns by shopping at our produce stand this summer!
Tasting Sorrel and Chive flowers.
Late Spring is one of our favorite times here at Green Plate Special. Our garden is bursting with new growth and we have the chance to harvest some great veggies. We had the privilege of sharing our springtime garden treats with the young adults from the FareStart Barista training program. FareStart provides job training, leadership development, and life skills education for young adults aged 16-24 and provides them with work experience in the competitive coffee industry of Seattle.
We began our program with a garden tour. The students enjoyed tasting sorrel, lettuce, arugula, and spinach. As we munched on a dark red lettuce called Merlot, we discussed the lack of diversity among foods in conventional agriculture and how small-scale agriculture can provide exciting new options that we may not find in a grocery store. The participants were thrilled to interact with our hens which led to interesting conversation about commercial meat and egg production and how our chickens’ lives are different than chickens that are living on factory farms. We took some time to check out our worm bins and 3-bin compost system, and also talked about how proper disposal of food waste is not only Seattle law, but also a sustainable practice that can produce a great resource for our gardens and farms and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In the kitchen, we practiced knife skills together with turnips, radishes, snow peas, and more from our garden. The participants created an excellent Soba Noodle Salad that was tasty and had one of the participants exclaim, “This is the healthiest I’ve ever eaten!” One participant who made it clear that they did not enjoy vegetables, was pleasantly surprised by how delicious the salad was and cleared their entire plate. As we wrapped up our meal together, another participant said, “This is the first time I’ve eaten at a table in many years, and I’m glad it was with you guys.”
Prepping fresh turnips from the garden for our salad.
Tossing our fresh Soba Noodle Salad.
The first seeds have been planted and bean trellises have been raised in the new vegetable garden at Washington Middle School in the Central District! After months of planning by parents and teachers, and the hard work of many volunteers, the garden at Washington MS was completed in the end of April. Just a few days after the raised beds were filled with soil, Green Plate Special lead a group of 11 middle school youth through the garden’s first seed selection and planting, in partnership with the Huskies Out of School Time (HOST) program.
Youth selected broccoli starts, radish and lettuce seeds, sunflowers, potatoes, and herbs to plant in the four new raised beds. They learned about seed depth and spacing, and carefully planted their seeds in straight rows. A week later, the group built sturdy bean trellises of their own design to support a crop of Scarlet Runner Beans.
Over the course of seven after-school sessions, the Washington Middle School after-school gardening club will tend their garden, create signage for their garden space, and visit Green Plate Special twice for gardening inspiration and simple cooking lessons. This gardening program is also part of School’s Out Washington’s AYD STEM Pilot program to improve STEM teaching through after-school activities. Through learning about the growing process, engineering trellises, and measuring the boiling point of pasta water, students will experience science in new ways.
Planting the first seeds in the Washington Middle School garden
Trellis building at Washington Middle School
Trellis building with bamboo
Your donation during GiveBIG will support our youth programs in many ways:
- Just four months into the year, we have almost matched the number of youth we worked with in all of 2014. This means we’ve been making more snacks, cooking more meals, and purchasing more garden art supplies than ever before.
- Through partnerships with Leschi Elementary School and Washington Middle School, Green Plate Special is supporting our local school gardens through in-class and after-school education.
- We have added a second full-week summer camp this year to provide more immersive gardening and cooking opportunities for youth
- To make programs available to all families, we operate on a “pay what you can” registration system. Families pay as little as $5 for a 7 week after-school program or one-week summer camp.
Make your donation to Green Plate Special during GiveBIG tomorrow, May 5, between midnight and midnight through The Seattle Foundation’s website at the link below. A portion of your donation will be matched by The Seattle Foundation’s "stretch pool" of funding.
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 email@example.com or 206-228-8645
It 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.
One 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.