Shakamak after school program hosts community meal to celebrate gardens

Sunday, March 18, 2018

On Tuesday, March 20, MSD Shakamak students, teachers and community members will meet to celebrate the new Youth Community Gardens and delight in recipes made from the kinds of produce students will be growing this year.

At the celebration, students will be serving zucchini meatballs, butternut squash fritters, herb focaccia bread, a brightly colored rainbow salad (complete with a blueberry vinaigrette) and apple smiles with sun butter/yogurt dip for dessert.

The main purpose of this event is to highlight the new garden so that students, family members and other community members understand the important role that it will soon play. The six raised beds installed earlier this year will be utilized as a tool for afterschool students to learn STEAM curriculum, have fun, and to give back to the community. Eventually, Produce from the garden will be donated to local food pantries or given to families who otherwise would not be able to access the fresh vegetables.

In order to make this celebration possible, MSD Shakamak collaborated with Baesler’s Market who generously donated the ingredients needed for the colorful feast.

“This produce is so beautiful and fresh. I can’t believe how much we were able to buy to feed the students and families,” said Mallory Rickbeil, the Purdue Extension Community Wellness Coordinator. “I’m sure the students will leave the event excited to grow and cook with the cabbages, carrots, peas and other early season crops we are planting.”

The day before the event, students will work with representatives from the Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program to knead and proof the focaccia bread and make the last minute preparations to the school garden site. At the event, parents will have a chance to tour of the garden and work with local Master Gardeners to plant the first batch of seedlings.

Fun activities will be included during the night including arts and crafts for kids, and planting flower seedlings to attract pollinators later on.