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What’s Growing On? May/June 2020 News from Grow Southcoast

by: Adam Davenport, Grow Education Manager

Typically in May, Grow Education is planting garden bed after garden bed in elementary schools across New Bedford. Though spring has looked different this year, we have adjusted and continue to support our school partners and their communities.

As the quarantine started to open up in mid-May, we have been able to start planting gardens across the city! Without knowing what the harvest season will bring, we will only seed vegetables that have one harvest and have to be cooked; such as potatoes, beets, celeriac, and flowers. Each garden is getting cultivated and planted by . the Grow team, with the hope that we can support food security in each neighborhood.  Garlic is popping up from last fall’s planting, and many of the herb beds are looking healthy thanks to help from Herbalists Without Borders volunteers.

Our Farm to School project in partnership with New Bedford Public Schools and the Food Service Department is moving steadily ahead.  We are using this time to plan ahead for next year’s fresh fruit and vegetable taste tests and menu changes in New Bedford’s Cafeterias.  We know that it can be a challenge to have kids ready and willing to try new vegetables, but what they grow, they will eat!  This is the ‘secret sauce’ combining our garden programming with changes in the cafeteria starting up next year.

This June, we’ve kicked off something entirely new for Grow Education – welcome to the Grow Virtual Classroom!

During this time we have gotten creative with some resources to support at-home learning for students.  We’re taking student on “virtual field trips” to lots of cool places, like to Round the Bend Farm to visit our farmer friend, Josh, to learn about chicken farming. We also got a lesson on Nutrition from New Bedford Public School’s Assistant Food Service Director, Sam, who played an interactive “My Plate” in her video. And we’ve learned about planting potatoes, why they’re healthy to eat, and the benefits of eating herbs during a virtual New Bedford school garden tour!
These videos can’t replace kids getting their hands dirty in the gardens – but we all have had to adapt and grow during these times.  We hope to use these video’s as supplemental resources to our school workshops in the future.  If you have an idea for a video that you could, or we could create, reach out to us and let us know 
Lastly, the racial justice movement that is spreading across the country and world is not going unnoticed within Grow Education.  We are listening, learning and ready to grow with our community.  Food injustices most definitely effect the city of New Bedford and it’s often among residents who are people of color.  We hope that our work can play a part in health equity by providing access to high quality and nutritious foods for our youth.  We strive to learn from you, and hope that we can support education in issues of food injustice, to be a conduit for community members to get involved.  Please reach out to us – it takes a community!  
Episode 1: Chickens!

Join Adam Davenport from The Marion Institute’s Grow Education program on a virtual field trip to Round the Bend Farm in South Dartmouth, MA. We’re visiting chicken farmer, Josh Louro to learn about their habitat, what they eat, how a sustainable farm works, and more! This video is part of the Marion Institute’s Farm to School project, in partnership with New Bedford Public Schools.
Episode 2: What’s On Your Plate?

Come on another virtual field trip with Samantha Therrien, the Assistant Director of Food and Nutrition Services at New Bedford Public Schools in New Bedford, MA. We will learn how to cook a delicious recipe, what a nutritionist does, and play a My Plate game! When Sam isn’t making videos she is working hard to get healthy and delicious menu items on your plates in the cafeteria! Grow Education is a program of the Marion Institute.
Episode 3: What Does Our Garden Grow?

Join Grow Education’s Adam Davenport on a tour and potato planting at New Bedford Public Schools gardens! Here you will learn about planting, growing and harvesting of garlic and potatoes, as well as several herbs and their uses from local Herbalist Carissa Wills-DeMello.

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