5th,6th,7th, & 8th grade salsa!

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Our Orca tomatoes are a big source of pride around here. They are grown from seed by students and the plants produce some of the most delicious tomatoes you have ever had. Multicolored salsa was made this last week: cherry, heirloom, & slicer tomatoes galore.

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It’s a very fresh and delicious snack to make from scratch. We got some new “kid friendly” cutting knives and a plethora of new bamboo cutting boards to make this project more seamless.

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It was a hit all around. It really is amazing to see new Orca students who have not had years of my “fresh, free, local, organic” propaganda. These new students really get their minds and taste buds blown wide open when they pick food w/ their classmates and prepare it in the greenhouse. They start as skeptics many times and end up as full blown chef participants. It’s great to start off the year by “breaking bread” together and having some delicious hands-on fun.

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Hot Hot Hot SUMMERTIME!

It has been the hottest of hottest dry summers ever! Somehow through a lot of Orca family help watering and some extra time spent at the garden by yours truly, we have stayed alive and green (and just a tad crispy). We should have plenty to harvest in September when school starts again. Lots of kale, tomatoes, fennel, figs, apples, kohlrabi, chard, potatoes, so many herbs, and tons of flowers. Stay tuned for the best year ever of gardening, nutrition, sustainability, social justice, & deliciousness!

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Orca Garden Sodas: End o’ year epic epicness!

What an amazing year of fun, food, environmentalism, joy, & wonder!!!

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We made incredibly delicious garden themed sodas w/ our trusty Sodastream, a collection of awesome garden ingredients, and a few lemons & limes.

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It has been an amazing year- the activities, culture, and uniqueness of Orca make it truly a special place for learning.

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This last week was sunny, fun, and full o’ bubbly beverages that the kids enjoyed a lot. There might have been a lil’ hose spraying too to stay cool.

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It was also a lil’ sad too because of all the great Orca students I have known forever moving on to different middle schools after 5th grade. All those kids got awesome tote bags & I sincerely hope they remember the Orca garden and their experience here! This was the first year too where I had known some kids from K-8th grade: the entire run. Bon voyage amazing kids! You will be missed!

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Most kids got cool Orca Garden & Kale Revolution prints if (if they didn’t get a tote) that we printed up on a screen press. They signed them and I hope they throw them up on a wall somewhere and enjoy them!

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Peace out y’all- it’s been a great year! Anthony (I) will be back for my 10th year (!!?!?!) next school year and we are already planning incredible units, themes, activities, and delicious foods to harvest. Stay cool & stay fresh!

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Calendula & Lavender Balm!

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We spent the week melting down beeswax & olive oil and combining the magical medicinal flower calendula w/ some lavender. Kids love carrying this pocket size balm around and being prepared for all the shenanigans that they get into.

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This balm can help heal scratches, bug bites, itches, chapped lips, and more! Calendula grows like a weed in our garden but it is a great smelling flower and pollinator also! The lavender was from both our garden and the neighborhood. We have collected it all on some nice walks around Orca this Spring.

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We got some time to dance a little too, celebrating the end of a fabulous year here at Orca!

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Seed bombs & guerilla clay creations

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We spent the week making incredible art and scientific creations that can turn any vacant lot or blank garden spot into a living area. Our fabulous art teacher Stacy hooked us up with 2 blocks of clay and we mixed them w/ Orca garden seeds to create these cool art/science hybrids.

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We used leaves, seeds, herbs, and anything we could find in the garden to augment the clay and turn it into living art. The seeds we harvested from the garden were beans, calendula, collard greens, fennel, and monster kale. Students took them home and hopefully planted them somewhere cool!

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Behold: teenagers eating salad.

It is quite the sight to see teens eating salad- it warms the heart like not a lot of things do. After surviving this insane winter of gloom, dark clouds, and constant soggy rain- we finally get to enjoy the garden in all it’s delicious glory. Teens are tough cookies- they like what they like. BUT there is something amazing about stripping away preconceptions about food & gardens and just watching kids harvest fresh lettuce & spinach. Even if they think they know they won’t like it, to watch a kid overcome that and eat a whole plate or even a few bites- it’s incredible. This critical relationship w/ food (real fresh organic local food)- is an experience they will carry with them forever.

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Plant Donations! Giving the Orca Way.

After the incredible success of our annual plant sale, we set to work donating plants to various non-profits, schools, community gardens, foodbanks, etc. We donated to Harvest Pierce CountySeattle Young People’s ProjectRainier Valley Food Bank, Magic Lantern Montessori, Esperanza Senior Housing, Sand Point Child Development Center, Hillman City P-Patch,  and a few more amazing organizations. AND we gave every student at Orca their own tomato if they wanted one. Here at Orca, we like to hook up the community w/ fresh goodies. The whole time we are growing the plants I am reminding students that what we are growing is something that will enrich and feed our communities- especially those in need. Thanks!

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