1600 Birch Ln, Davis, CA 95618
Hope Sippola, garden coordinator volunteer
The purpose of the Birch Lane garden is to connect children with local, nutritious food, and to help them make healthy choices.
The Taste Our Garden grant served three purposes: (1) to meet the goal of serving garden fresh produce in the cafeteria by purchasing materials for harvesting and washing produce, (2) to purchase more seeds and supplies for working in the garden such as harvest containers, signage, wash tubs, hoses/sprayers/hardware sawhorse for wash station, and additional plant starts beyond what they propagate, and (3) to help provide supplies for kids’ taste tests.
Birch Lane planted 1,500 veggie starts using square foot gardening techniques to maximize space and production of their 48 beds. This allowed for sampling and cooking of 10 diversified crops to reach all of their 680 students. Their goals is to expand their program to include more beds, diversified crops such as carrots, and to expand the frequency of their taste tests.
“When kids get to be in the garden, they harvest the food, and get educational value. But the best part is letting them get their hands in the soil, and play. Learning is fun—and they love it!” said Hope Sippola, garden coordinator volunteer. “All of our teachers participate and our principal is very engaged. He would like to see the garden programs expanded. Monthly lessons are provided to all classes and taught by parent volunteers.”
“In addition, we grow lettuce and have been selling the produce to Student Nutrition Services in Davis. This allows students to try a variety of fresh, organic greens of various textures and colors and make a true garden to table connection. In our pilot year we harvested 50 pounds of lettuce and 32 pounds of mixed chard and kale from 16 of their 48 plots.”
What are Tasty Tuesdays at Birch Lane? “We like all of our kids to participate and taste the produce that we grow. In a recent tasting, all of the 680 students sampled baby kale, mustard, arugula, mache, tatsoi, and carrots – and played the ‘Guess Your Greens’ game. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the greens!”
~ by Beth Harrison, Yolo Farm to Fork Executive Director