The American Honda Foundation has just awarded us another $25,000 grant to continue our efforts throughout our (ever expanding!) community. To them, we say, "thank you!" and we can't wait to put that money to work.
On a smaller but no less exciting note, we used our bike blender again in one of our cooking classes. The kids loved the resulting smoothie (the adults, not so much). The adults (this one, at least) did love seeing an entire class rally around each other. They stood in a circle around the bike chanting each others' names and helping out when the pushing got tough. Literally: the kids would step on the pedals to help or kneel next to the bike and push the pedals with their hands if their classmates couldn't turn them. The whole scene was heartwarming, and the apple smoothie at the end was well deserved.
In fact, it was so exciting that a class of kindergartners even filed in silently behind their teacher to check out the scene. They took the opportunity to walk around the garden too, and take a gander at our newly planted winter crops:
We've got several plantings of kale, chard, collards, and broccoli and more already in and going, and several more beds ready for plants that are on the way:
These beds were planted first. Just after they went in the ground, the water in the garden was turned off due to an irrigation issue at school. Thus, the plants bolted and look crazy (those tall plants in the middle bed are lettuce!). They still taste good, though. You can see the Mexican Marigolds blooming along the fence. They make the air so fragrant!
This was our second planting. We're hoping to get some delicious brassicas and greens out of these beds. The flowers in the corners help attract beneficial insects, which eat the aphids and other pests that eat our crops.
Here, the amended soil waits patiently under a layer of alfalfa. The mulch layer will break down and replace some nutrients our earlier tomato crop leached from the soil. It will also protect the roots of whatever we plant next, staving off too much evaporation and some pests.