Archive for October, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes!

It’s harvest time and we have a ton of green tomatoes. Fry ’em up!! Two 1/2 classes got to taste a classic southern recipe of fried goodness. They wrote the recipes down and even got to take a green tomato home to try out with their family. We at the Orca Garden do not encourage the eating of fried foods all the time. HOWEVER- we thought a little fried food from Orca tomatoes that travelled twenty feet to be eaten, would be a delicious lesson. They were a hit with the students!

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Planting seeds with third graders

Third grade is growing seeds as part of the science curriculum in the classroom. Out here in the greenhouse, we are taking things a step further and having kids plant seeds of plants they can eat! Students have grown and transplanted rainbow chard and collard greens, hardy fall crops that can add some love to your dinner plate. They are tracking their growth weekly with scientific drawings when they visit the greenhouse. Melanie’s class took some plants home today.

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The Path of your breakfast. How many miles to your plate?

Anthony teamed up with Jeff for an incredible activity in Jeff’s 6th grade math/science class. The goal was to track the approximate amount of miles that your breakfast took to get to your breakfast table. Think of all the ingredients in your bowl of Lucky Charms (or Wheetabix)- can we possibly come up with an estimation of the miles travelled? Yes and no. Though it is almost impossible to track this path, the 6th grade used their math skills to do the best any human can in determining an answer to this difficult question. Some student,s breakfasts travelled 10,000 miles- all for a bowl of cereal and cinnamon toast. From farm to factory to store to home, the relationships between the partners in delivering your food to you is super complex. This compexity makes for an amazing lesson in food security, sustainability, and just plain mathematics. Students were then asked if there were negative effects to the distance food travelled. Their answers were very insightful and inspired us very much.

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Pizza spices from the pizza garden

3 different kinds of oregano, multiple thymes, rosemary, and even mint made it into the pizza spice envelopes that students collected yesterday. We hope everybody goes home and cooks up some spaghetti and pizza. Bon appetit!

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Pre-K visits the p-patch for some harvest action

On even a rainy day, nothing can stop the Pre-K from a short walk to the Hillman City P-Patch. We harvested some mint, Vietnamese cilantro, lavender, and giant carrots!

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Lunchroom Composting Program Data (Crunching numbers and food)

Composting data

Composting data

Our data is starting to seriously grow.

121.4 pounds of food composted in our on-site worm bins.

That’s an average of about 6.7 pounds of lunch scraps per day.


322.9 pounds of food (meat, cheese, dairy, cooked things) went to Cedar Grove to become compost.

That’s an average of 17.9 pounds of lunch scraps per day.

click here for a bigger picture of the poster

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Field Trip to Rainier Valley Food Bank

Dante’s 7th grade social studies class took a field trip to the food bank to deliver Orca Garden grown produce- chard, tomatoes, squash, and more. This was a service learning project that was a chance for them to delve into the power of giving. This food bank serves hundreds of families a week and are an incredible resource for the Rainier Valley. The tour that Gwen gave to us was insightful and powerful. The questions that students asked were great examples of the impact that these kind of real educational experiences have on students. They even got a chance to go “shopping” for what a family of 1-4 would take home in a day at the food bank. These students were even talking about doing a school wide food drive to donate to the food bank. Community building at its finest! Check RVFB at

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Patrick’s class visits a farm in Seattle!

We had an amazing opportunity to visit a real life farm with horses, goats, sheep, veggie beds, and more. It is located in South Seattle near Kubota Gardens and one of Orca’s students lives on this amazing property that seems to exist from another era. Over 20 acres of urban sanctuary.

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Orca Garden Passport- Ticket to sustainability

We have developed Orca passports for each grade level. These “passports” are used to get the students exploring the garden on their own. Each page is its own question about one aspect of the garden. One example is- “List 10 things that worms like to eat”, and instead of just thinking and imagining it, they can head over to the worm bin, lift it up, and get their hands dirty looking. Another example-“Find the mint garden and taste 4 mints. Describe how they taste, smell, and feel.” Tasting the garden is fun. Students are doing drawing and art in their passports also.

Older students get to explore the notion of sustainability, our giving garden, and other more complex aspects of the garden.

The idea is to make the passports a ticket to hands-on, naturalist, experiential learning- when the students discover these aspects of the garden on their own, they earn the knowledge and will carry it in a different and more meaningful way.

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Pre-K bug exploration!

Is there anything more fun than hanging out in a garden with Pre-K students? Yes- exploring and looking for bugs with magnifying glasses! We had a blast today searching for bugs in the garden- we have some serious detectives in this Pre-K class. This is the 1st year that Orca has had a Pre-K class and they are lucky to be placed right next to the garden for easy access!

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