School Cafeteria Lunch Goes Green - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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School Cafeteria Lunch Goes Green

Delicious fresh picked salad greens, a spicy radish relish, and garden-fresh herbed honey mustard dressing were featured in the Prospect Heights High School cafeteria on Thursday. These seasonal foods were grown and harvested by a dedicated group of 15 students from the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment (BASE), which is located in the building. The project introduces the concept of local food systems via firsthand experience. The students began by planting Easter egg radishes and a variety of lettuces in BBG’s Children’s Garden in late September. Each week, they came to tend to their bed, learning how to weed and thin. Once their produce was ready to harvest, the students learned how to prepare seasonal dishes and brought home extra vegetables. In preparation for the lunch, they competed in an Iron Chef-style contest to create the best tasting salad dressing. Finally, a giant harvest was quickly completed the day before, so school cafeteria staff could wash and prepare the ingredients.

BBG’s historic Children’s Garden has offered space and staffing for the past five years for BASE students to plant, tend, and harvest vegetables during the spring and fall growing seasons. The project was initiated by a partnership with the New York State Agriculture Department and NYC SchoolFood’s Garden to School Café program. Cafeteria staff have also received training, culinary tools and recipes to incorporate the students’ produce into the menu of the typical high school lunch. This year’s fall harvest project was led by BBG instructor Katie Heyn and Prospect Park/BASE partnership assistant Charmion Browne with support from BASE teachers Dan Kellner and Geoffrey Hockert. Stay tuned for the spring harvest, scheduled for early June 2013!

Patricia Hulse is BBG's Youth & Family Programs Manager.

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Image, top of page: Antonio M. Rosario