The garden that almost wasn't
I'm a huge fan of Chef Jamie Oliver and was thrilled with his network show “Food Revolution," which focused on helping our nation return to fresh, real food. Jamie shared many revolutionary tips with his viewers, and one of my favorite episodes was when he encouraged a public school to plant a garden. Watching food actually grow not only helped students to see and learn about where food comes from, but enlightened them to how delicious it tastes in its natural state, versus the boxed faux food filled with chemicals that our culture has come to rely on.
While chatting about kale salads one day on set...
...makeup artist Liz Villamarin expressed her interest in our recipes. She thought it would be a great addition to her son’s school kale harvest! Zane, an adorable 2nd grader, is quite the farmer. He is part of the Elysian Heights Elementary School Garden Club in Echo Park. The kids help choose what to plant and participate in the weeding, watering, composting, harvesting and eventually eating. The cute bugs and worms they encounter along the way just adds to the fun.
As Elysian Heights enters its 13th year of planting gardens, they're reminded of how the area was almost turned into a parking lot. But in the end, fresh grown food won and today its impact remains a large part of the local community. Seeing the kids eyes light up while they prepare food that they nurtured and grew themselves is so rewarding for teacher Susanna Villamarin, who is in charge of the after school garden club. Suddenly they're excited to try new foods and learn different ways to prepare their hard earned treats. This year they will add an herb garden. Some of their homemade dishes include mulberry syrup from the mulberry tree, salsa, salads, juices, and smoothies.