Miller Valley Elementary garden club students celebrated the end of a great school year with a garden harvest party. During the last week of school, garden club students were excited to see what the seeds they planted in March had become: food! Their garden beds were full of vegetables including arugula, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens and tops of carrots and radishes.
Miller Valley’s after-school garden club has met once a week this school year. Students tasted new vegetables and fruits, learned about the importance of bees, the water cycle and photosynthesis and planted their spring garden in March. After carefully planting rows of tiny seeds and covering them up with a blanket of straw, students returned to garden club each week eager to see their garden beds. As the weeks progressed, their beds had tiny green sprouts, then taller sprouts and then full leaves.
With the help of Carol Yetman, loyal garden club volunteer, and Katie McDaniel and Kelley Villa, Yavapai County Community Health Services community partners, garden club harvested their garden and made garden sandwiches. Students made a salad with their garden produce as well as root vegetables from PFM farmers, then put it on a hamburger roll with cheese and hummus.
After students gobbled down their sandwiches they received a bag to fill with garden veggies and take home to share with their families. Students slowly and carefully picked lettuce and arugula leaves and eagerly pulled radishes and carrots out of the ground. They were excited and exclaimed things like, “Wow look how many carrots I got!” and “I’m gonna share this with my friends!” and “Look how bright my radish is!”
It was a bittersweet final harvest. Miller Valley will close at the end of this week and the garden will be put to sleep. All garden club students will be dispersed among the other PUSD elementary schools: Abia Judd, Lincoln and Taylor Hicks. Sam Turner, FoodCorps service member and leader of the garden club is sure of one thing: If a gardening opportunity arises at these schools she is confident that her garden club students will be the first to sign up. She knows they’ll continue their education in the garden and hold on to the value of planting, tending, harvesting, preparing and most importantly, eating vegetables!