We wrapped up our final sessions with Washington Middle School just before our youth headed off on winter break. In our final session at the Washington Middle School garden we spent time reflecting on the season and started planning for spring. Youth wrote letters to the youth who will be joining us in our spring session at Washington Middle School, sharing their dreams and intentions for the new gardening season. We also discussed exciting cooking projects to use late winter and early spring produce from the garden.
For our final cooking project at Washington Middle School we made butter using heavy cream. Youth shook out some of their pre-holiday break energy by shaking cream in jars until it turned into fresh butter. We flavored the butter using combinations of lemon zest, rosemary and thyme from the garden, garlic and shallots. As we churned the butter we talked about the science behind butter and how it turns from a liquid into a smooth, spreadable solid.
Our Washington Middle School group also got to take one final field trip to GPS. During their time, Students participated in a solo walk through the garden to reflect on everything they’ve learned this fall and used all their senses to experience the garden in winter. Tea, an 8th grader, reflected on the solo walk: “It showed me I should look at the world sometimes, so I’ll probably do that more often. Everyone now is distracted by their phones and not paying attention to the world around them.” After the garden walk, youth worked together to draw a path map, using illustrations and writing to capture the activities, gardening, and cooking projects we did this fall.
To cap off a reflective afternoon, we did a meditation on a cacao bean to experience where chocolate comes from, and then baked beet brownies. We handed out these brownies the next day at HOST family night.