Tuesday, June 17, 2014

And . . . We're BACK! The 2014 Edition

Three years later, I am reviving this blog from the very beginnings of the Somers School Garden in Somers, Montana, to share with the world how our garden is doing in the summer of 2014! My name is Zoe Tucker, and I'm the current FoodCorps Service Member serving in Somers and Lakeside as well as in Bigfork and Cayuse Prairie Schools. I've been teaching in classrooms, assisting with procuring local food for the cafeterias, and engaging kids in the garden this whole school year (check out the Montana FoodCorps blog here), but now that it is summer in Somers again, it seemed like the time to start posting some pictures. . . 

Like this one of third graders at Lakeside Elementary dissecting some dirt earlier this spring!

Anyway, some high points of the year: at Somers Middle School, we had a small but faithful Garden Club crew who met after school to plant seeds, transplant starts, weed, generally tend the garden, and come up with ideas for how to make the garden more popular among the other students. We will resume that next fall and hopefully it can grow a little each year! Led by Robin Vogler, our intrepid Food Service Director, held our annual Montana Food Day in October to showcase local Montana produce across the menu, and tried out a few new recipes and items such as Montana lentil hummus and local beets, both of which went over pretty well with the middle schoolers. At Lakeside Elementary, we continued serving snacks through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, highlighting many delicious local products including apples, butternut squash, radishes, and even kale for National Kale Day. We also continued to cultivate our hydroponic greenhouse at Somers, which we use primarily to grow head lettuce for the school salad bar. Nice, eh?


In May, we had a wonderful work day featuring the folks from Montana Conservation Corps--our ever-faithful helpers in the garden--and the awesome youth from the Center for Restorative Youth Justice. This was the BEFORE, A.K.A. the Land of Quackgrass:

The worst of it--it's hard to look at:

But our devoted volunteers really went at those vicious rhizomes, and here is AFTER:

Note the brand-new three-bin compost system next to the school, the newly transplanted broccoli on the right, and a significantly reduced population of quackgrass. . . We hope.

Thanks, MCC and CRYJ! You all rock. Now, our broccoli, kale, cabbage, tomatoes, pumpkins, onions, garlic, tomatillos and sunflowers are on their way to success. More pictures coming soon!

Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or ideas at zoe.tucker@foodcorps.org.

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