School is back in session and we couldn't be happier.
It's great to see the kids again -- it's shocking how much they grew over the summer! I know, we shouldn't be surprised. After all, we spend all summer with plants that have completed their entire life cycles in the last few months -- an extra inch or two shouldn't be that big a deal. Nonetheless, it's always kind of a shock to say goodbye to little kids in June and have them come back looking like young adults.
As a special welcome back during the first week of school, we set up a tasting station outside the garden. One day, we provided chips (low sodium, whole grain, of course) and salsa made fresh with ingredients from the garden. The next day we had pomegranates and apple slices. Students were lined up across the playground to taste the fruits of their labors. Since then, they have come in every day asking for more -- who says kids won't eat healthy snacks? The most popular one by far was the pomegranates. We've had rich conversations almost daily about the flavor profiles and nutritional values of pomegranates; we can't wait to see how they respond to the snacks that are up next!
For the last two weeks, we've been teaching classes. So far, it's been mostly the younger grades -- kids who come in wide-eyed in awe at the beauty before them. Today, in fact, a first grader stopped about three yards in to the garden, put her hand to her chest, and exclaimed aloud, "It's SO BEAUTIFUL!" Moments like that make us a little teary-eyed and are a great reminder for why we do the work we do. We have kids touring the garden, reminding us of the rules, and generally getting ready for the school year. Sadly, we don't have any photos of that. But we do have this cool shot of one of our students helping us clear out dead sunflowers to prep the beds for the new school year:
Next month we get to roll out our new curricula, and we can't wait to see how it goes. Until then, we'll bask in the beauty of the space and the excitement of the new school year.