Fair Food Matters Garden

It’s summer, and our garden looks like a seed catalog come to life. There’s baby and red romaine; dinosaur and red Russian kale; purple kohlrabi, celery, and Italian parsley. There are chiles, peppers, four kinds of tomatoes, and rows of onions and garlic. It all smells as good as it tastes — and it’s not just veggies that thrive here. Our FFM kids eat this homegrown bounty to learn the value of good food and nutrition. Here’s a sampling of what else your generosity has made possible:

  • Our Club Grub students visited the Kalamazoo College hoop house in February. They tasted greens and herbs, planted peas and potatoes, and “threshed” lettuce seeds from last fall’s plants. Harder than it sounds since lettuce seeds are about the size of black pepper specks!
  • Since spring there’s been some squirmy new helpers at Woodward: a bin of red worms for composting. FFM and K College students feed them veggie scraps and ensure they have enough air and water to grow. The 1,000 worms process our food waste into garden compost. (The students named all the worms Francine; now we don’t have to make name tags for each of them.)
  • FFM K-5 students prepared our beds for spring planting. Their favorite ask is adding worm castings – thanks, Francines! – and straw for mulch. They transplanted vegetables from pots and took some home for family use. To attract bees and butterflies, we added Michigan native plants such as common milkweed, butterfly weed, and black-eyed Susans, along with annuals such as marigolds, zinnias, and sunflowers. The FFM garden is a feast for the senses.
  • To keep our garden beds sunny, we cut down invasive trees such as Siberian elms and honeysuckles. But we left the trees by our resting place to provide cool shade in summer. And, KPS workers fixed the pipes and spigots that provide water for our garden. We added a timer to our watering system, so we don’t use any more than necessary.
  • Finally, because Club Grub students love the grub part, they’ve made smoothies, homemade pickles, a Persian kuku (an herb frittata), and scrambled eggs with various veggie combos. They learned about teas about tea culture in Nepal and Saudi Arabia. Then, students prepared these items for parents who visited on the final Club Grub day. Again, your generosity put this and more on the table. On behalf of all our FFM kids, thank you!

We are serving more students this coming year by adding another after-school session and working with Communities In Schools. With a strong start this summer, we will increase community engagement in the surrounding neighborhood by adding summer community garden days. This provides families who live in the neighborhood a chance to engage in garden activities and be part of keeping our sweet corner garden beautiful.