Archive for May, 2012

Orca Soup vs. Campbell’s- in the ultimate smackdown match!

Not tryin’ to hate on Campbell’s soup- I grew up with it. BUT-

1. It has more sugar than a Pepsi?

2. High Fructose corn syrup is the second ingredient?

3. It traveled thousands of miles to get to your bowl?

Well here at Orca, our soup is local, fresh goodness & it travelled 50 feet and is organic.  We talked about advertising and how it tries to sell us things that maybe we don’t need or that are unhealthy for us. We are trying to get deep here in our quest to help facilitate critical thinkers. Is the idea of really understanding the origins and ingredients of our food just as important as math or science? Yes. We asked students to make their own advertisements for Orca soup. Sellin’ a free product- hah!

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Pizza & Spaghetti herbs TO GO

This activity is so nice, we do it twice in a year. I’m always looking for ways to connect the garden with home and this one seems to be a hit. We collect oregano & rosemary (our thyme died!) in homemade pizza pockets, then they take ’em home and eat it up. You can add this to some Ragu OR to some home style spaghetti sauce. Flavor and fun.

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Leek & Chard soup- local, fresh, and delicious.

To the last drop

The soggy spring returns and we are forced into the warm confines of the Orca greenhouse. But we are Seattlites! So we spent a little time planting some greens outside and harvesting mint for tea on future chilly days. But we had to get to cookin’ up some of these delicious leeks that we have been growing the last year. They are super fat and delicious. I chopped them up w/ some bouillon cubes, added some chard and voila! Delicious soup.

Bad, bad, bad conventional food system

I did a little mini-lesson w/ the 6th grade students to reinforce conventional vs. community agriculture. I don’t get as deep with the 1st graders- but the concepts are reinforced through talking and conversation. When you couple those concepts with some hot soup on a cold day- my thoughts are that they run a little deeper. With each “step” in our ruinous agricultural system- we add more pollution and wasted energy. We want students to learn that they have a choice and can make an impact- but it starts with their own lives and choices. Fresh, local, and organic- the Orca way.

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The radish, the whole radish, & nuthin’ but the radish.

Love ’em or hate ’em, radishes are a quick and easy snack & lesson in the garden. Their relative slow turn around time goes against the “patience” mantra of school gardening. Some kids find the spice too much to handle- others will munch them to no end. Either way- it’s more of a winner than a loser. Over 10 kids in each kindergarten class had their first radish EVER. Awesome.

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Feels like summer in here….

We got to work out here, post- plant sale, to finally get a lot of plants planted. Some sections of the garden needed some restructuring and reorganization. We got some corn in the ground and will be doing some three sisters gardening.

Mini corn field

We planted some corn around our super cool bean pole teepee.

Bean pole & corn teepee

Then we did a quick mini- lesson on how plants flower and go to seed. We took this info and ripped out chard plants that had seeded. But first we harvested the leaves for our buddies at the Rainier Valley Food Bank.

Group effort for sure

We also built the skeleton of our hoop houses, so our tomatoes can get super hot and super delicious.

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Plant sale 2012 success. Thank you everybody!

A line? wow.

It was the best plant sale yet in my 4 years here. Thanks to all the students who worked so hard to grow these plants. The greenhouse still has tons of plants left over- which is a really great thing. We donate plants to so many non-profits & schools- they rely on us to help them get a super jump start on growing food for those in need. Social enterprise at it’s finest- people buy organic starter plants for their gardens, and we can in turn help out a  lot of other people who need our help. Yay!

Special thanks to all the UW volunteers- they really helped for many weeks before tagging, transplanting, and making it all happen. Thank you Emily, Sarah, Jasmine,  & Jesse.

the day before….thanks to UW volunteer Emily!

Also- much thanks to all the parent volunteers who really helped make this a community effort like no other.  Hannah- our garden committee QUEEN- she has been down in the trenches since day one- THANKS! Thank you to Kelli for our fabulous baked goods. Laura & Tom for all their extra plant support and labor. Tamara- our cashier and master money person. Big thanks to Lily & Jaala for putting together their fabulous Makery craft area for all the kids at the sale. So many people to thank- Orca couldn’t exist without all of our community support.



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Plant sale next Saturday May 12th!

jurassic park greenhouse of plants….


We have so many veggies and tomatoes this year- they look strong and healthy and are in the process of being hardened off so that they thrive in your lovely garden. In addition to the veggies, we will have native plants, herbs, fruit bushes, Mother’s Day flower pots, and more. We will be open 10am-3pm w/ lots of kids “makery” activities, bake sale goodies, and lots of people to answer your plant questions.

lots o’ varieties!

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Thank you Cedar Grove Compost!

5th grade workers.

Thanks Cedar Grove for all donation of 16 cubic yards of compost. We spread it around the front and back of our school gardens. It was a lovely sight to see students climb atop those mounds and shovel them into wheel barrows. We give Cedar Grove over 5,000 pounds of lunchroom scraps each year- a year later it returns… Finally we found a use for those Beef Gippers that aren’t so popular in the lunchroom- COMPOST! This partnership with Cedar Grove is really beneficial for both of us. Kudos to Cedar Grove again.

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Beautiful outdoor week of munching!



This week was all about eating! We munched everything that has been part of our spring harvest- new radishes, kale chips (always a surprise hit!), and garden burritos. We did a mint scavenger hunt (find 3 kinds) also. We have been having a great time outside exploring and finally shaking off the winter. We are looking forward to the plant sale on May 12th!



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