Under the guidance of Roots’ Maggi Pons, students, parents, and faculty will plant herbs and vegetables in new and existing raised beds. At 9:00 and 10:00 a.m., grades two through five will plant herbs in two raised garden beds, including chives, oregano, dill, sage, rosemary, culantro, and cilantro, a selection with both variety and familiarity. At 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m., fourth and fifth graders will plant seeds of four varieties of tomatoes (red including cherry, celebrity, and big boy, and a dark green Russian heirloom,) red and green peppers, and eggplant, which are all night shade plants in the same family and relatively low maintenance. Seeds for okra, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, beets, sunflowers, Swiss chard, strawberries, and zucchini will also be planted. Michael will be joined by Hedy and MGFD staffers to help plant and sample his recipe for ratatouille, featuring ingredients that will eventually be harvested from the garden.
Thanks to the support of Phillis Wheatley Elementary School’s Principal Catalina Flor and Assistant Principal Yvonne Perry, a science teacher, Ms. Rivero, has been appointed as garden project administrator. Funding for seeds, raised garden beds, tools, and educational supplies, as well as teacher training, comes from The Education Fund’s Plant A Thousand Garden’s Collaborative Nutrition Initiative and its signature sponsor Wachoiva Wells Fargo Foundation. Phillis Wheatley is one of 25 schools piloting The Education Fund’s initiative to use edible gardens and corresponding curriculum to improve students eating attitudes and behaviors.
To promote healthy eating through education in South Florida, Chef and Phillis Wheatley Elementary have signed up to be partners in First Lady Michelle Obama’s national Chefs Move to Schools initiative. The goal is to teach young people about nutrition and making balanced and healthy choices, using the edible school garden as a tool and by participating in Let’s Move! and USDA challenges like “Recipes for Healthy Kids.”
Chef Michael will visit the school periodically to cook and show that it is both easy and tasty to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into one’s daily routine and hopes to join Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ chef partnership effort to work with cafeteria staff and incorporate healthy recipes into the school’s lunch program.