Edible Peace Patch Blogs

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The first sunflower finally formed this week, a sign that shows how fast time has gone by. Everything is past sprouting and there is an influx of vegetables and other plants blooming at very high rates. There were no children this week, so we had a lot if time to take care of weeding and maintenance for the patch. The past few weeks have been excitingly fast, and the students are not only ecstatic about the growing plants, but are also very curious about them. The more they are able to see, the more curious they become.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Propping up and providing support

Today was a successful Saturday workday.  The gardens are growing along very nicely.  

It is amazing to visit a garden after not being there for a week and see how it has grown.  It almost seems as if they are growing all on their own.

The truth is these gardens and vegetables are growing with all the efforts that are put into them through our students and volunteers.  This is why there is continued noticeable growth every time we revisit each garden.

The tomatoes and bean plants at Sanderlin were all growing substantially, but not in the best direction.  The bean plants and tomatoes all needed a little effort to get them propped up and supported to grow in the right direction.

Our great team of volunteers at Sanderlin today propped up all the plants and used bamboo to give them support.   It took some work and patience to untangle all of the plants leaves, stems and stalks.  Once this was done though the plants were all headed in the right direction, ready to grow upwardly and produce yields.

Just like our vegetables the kids all need a little prop up and support.  These gardens provide that prop up and support for the kids and just like untangling the plants it takes some work and patience.  It may not be obvious, but by tying those plants close to a strong a bamboo stick that can guide and support their growth, they are doing the same for the kids.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for propping them up, guiding them with a little support in the right direction so that they can grow and progress.   

If you did not make it out to this Saturdays workday come out and join us on December 14th  at 8:00 A.M. at Campbell Park Elementary School.

Aleta Kane
Garden Program Coordinator

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leaf printing and plant identification

November 6,2013

It's a lovely fall day at the garden plenty of sun and a bit windy.. The plants are growing exceptionally well and the student are quite excited to see the flowers and vegetables  they planted grow.  The past few weeks  were full of lessons that consisted  of  the type of soil the plants needed and how it is different from regular soil, i.e. composting , coffee grounds, ect. We also discussed the different parts of the plant, and the hydrological cycle among other things.
This week we took the kids out to learn a little about native and exotic plants. Although some of them were confused and could not interpret the meaning of  native and exotic species, they did a good job describing the characteristics the plants consisted of (this was mainly the 3-5 yr olds).
We finished the lesson by having them collect some of  the different plant leaves and  colored them for a leaf print. They were very excited and  were enthusiastic about their drawings. They started to identify the differences  between the different leaves.

Elizabeth and Caroline

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Let the Magic Begin!

First day of first class in the Sanderlin Garden.  My five Eckerd students were noticably nervous before the kids came out.  I went over our strategy with them.  We'll observe the garden, capture some data, and plant some seeds.

"So are we actually going to be teaching these kids?" One of the undergraduates asked sheepishly.  "That's the plan." I replied.

Mrs. Kearn's third grade class came out in a nice neat line, every one of them had been in the garden before, and they were bustling with excitement to be back.  I introduced my student to the elementary class, and my volunteers set to work.

Small groups, lots to look at.  They wandered around the garden pointing out our new tomatoes and basil and radishes, and showing where the banana tree is fruiting. 

Several kids picked and sampled radishes, sprouted from a workday in late summer.  Everyone helped us get our garden map in order and then they planted some seeds of their own.

Twenty-five minutes were gone in a flash.  The nervous smiles and gestures of my volunteers were replaced with smiles of achievement.  "That wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," one of them said.

Me, I saw budding educators another year in a row.  I love my job.

Kip Curtis, Ph.D.
Founder and Executive Director
The Edible Peace Patch Project

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Hello Everybody!
We have had an amazing journey through the Peace Patch! It seems like one project leads into another to help us expand and beautify our Gardens! We came across a yard filled with bamboo, half of which were dead...and waiting for us to come and harvest it! So we got to cut down giant bamboo shoots that were entangled in healthy shoots. As one chopped, a team of two or more would yank them out of the bunch. Less than half way through I was dripping in sweat but I didn't mind it. You should have seen how many shoots there were and the energy from everyone working, it was amazing! Now we have plenty of bamboo to construct edges and borders along our garden beds. Professor Kip Curtis and a few students have become masters at bamboo art! We love that we can recycle natural material and use it in our gardens!
Robin Gipson 

Peace within Nature

Loads of Bamboo

Have you seen our new Truck we had donated to the Edible Peace Patch?????

Professor Kip Curtis 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Our Final Garden Day..For Now!

Hi All and Good Evening!

Today was sadly our last day in the garden.  The semester is quickly coming to a close and that means we had to say goodbye to the Sanderlin garden and also to our classes.  Lia and I showed up at the garden and did our routine walk around.  It is still so fascinating to see all the new beauty that the garden has to offer every week.  Green is exploding in every single bed.  The Sanderlin garden has flourished in such an amazing way.  To think that this was the same garden that we started on in February is almost unbelievable.  Some things that I specifically noticed today were the sizes of the eggplants and the peppers.  They have gotten massive!  Also,  the tomatoes are beginning to take great size.  The Kale has grown to be quite bountiful.  So much has been grown in this short amount of time.

Our second grade class made their way out in the garden like any other day.  Today was a different day that consisted of no lesson.  Instead, we just talked about the upcoming harvest festival and all the food that is going to be prepared for the kids.  They got so excited! It was awesome to see them want to be so involved in this project.  They take so much pride in this garden and that is the most rewarding thing.    We did our last walk around the garden with them and I could feel the same excitement that has been prevalent all semester.  The kids insisted on weeding,  so we got down and dirty and weeded most of the garden.  We ended the class with catching lady bugs, since they seemed to be plentiful today.  We said our last goodbyes and shared hugs.  It was a lovely day.

This semester has really changed my views towards gardening and kids.  It is so wonderful to see the love the kids have for this garden and I share this love with them.  The age gap doesn't seem to matter when we are all laughing about the same green things that are growing.  I am inspired in many ways to come back and be a part of the Peace Patch next semester.  I also want to try to get involved in something like this where I am from!  It has been a great time.

Until next semester,

Sally :)

So Sad to Say Goodbye

Our Second home and food to fuel for our healthy bodies!!

       Today was our last visit to the Sanderlin Garden....it sure was sad! I did not realize how attached I was going to get to these kids at the beginning of the semester. Here I was thinking how much the kids are going to learn and love coming out to the garden and that is exactly what happened but for me as well.At the beginning of the semester when I asked them questions about plants it was new to them and now they all shout out the answers. It means so much to me to know that I have actually made an impact in their lives. Each child that comes out to the garden has touched my heart in one way or another.From the moments that they reach out to hold my hand during our garden walks to the moments when they look up at me with a puzzled look on their face as to how it is possible the seed they planted grew into a magnificent plant. They all tug at my heart and it has only been a single semester. Even though they can be a handful when they are all excited in a big group each of them are sweet and special in their own individual ways. To think I didn't have much of an interest in teaching elementary school children or any age group at all. These four elementary schools have significantly altered my plans for the future, I can only hope I have altered theirs. 
The Boys excited to try a fresh green bean

Monday, April 29, 2013

Community Growing.

Rather than a typical garden update, I would like to share with you all the amazing morning that I had today at Sanderlin. I've been sick the past few weeks and apparently strayed out of the loop, this became apparent when I was the only one to show up for our shift today, the only one to show up to school at all! The kids had no classes today and Sanderlin was a complete ghost town. I figured I may as well water, and as I was working I noticed the ridiculous amount of vegetables growing- we have sweet peppers galore, cucumbers, squash, greens, and will soon have a giant crop of tomatoes and bell peppers. But I wasn't the only one to notice. It took me a while to realize I was being watched, but I finally saw the small boy peering in from the other side of the fence. He asked me what I was doing, so I explained and then asked him if him and his family would like some vegetables, with that, he sprinted away... Just like that, I thought maybe I had scarred him and he was taking to heart all the 'stranger danger' lessons he's had, but he was gone. I felt pretty bad, but the plants still looked thirsty so I carried on my duties. Twenty minutes later though and the boy was back with his Grandparents. We chatted about the garden, and the weather, and when I once again offered some of my harvest, they told me they would love some, but only if I were to share it with them! I agreed and we made the trek across the road to their small home. We made lemonade, cut up some cucumbers and settled down on their small back patio. I shared with them all about the Peace Patch Project, and it's future goals, they also pressed me to talk about myself and my personal goals which led to the most incredible discussion of environmental and food justice that i've ever been lucky enough to be apart of. The couple asked me a lot of tough questions, and I did my best to answer them, though I learned more from them than I could ever teach in return. They made their grandson sit and listen to me talk about moving from Michigan to Florida for college, and they expressed such gratitude to me, just because I was taking the initiative to further my learning – they explained that neither of them could afford college and so it was their goal for their grandchildren to go, “I'll sell this house in a heartbeat” the man shouted, “as long as my boy can get the education he deserves!” They told me how much they love living across the road from such a 'beautiful experience' and asked me to thank everyone involved in the program. I spent about an hour this morning talking and enjoying the sun with this wonderful family whom I believe i'd never have gotten to meet if I hadn't shown up to Sanderlin today. I feel so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to share our garden with them, and to have learned about their lives in return. They asked not to be named or photographed, but this elderly couple, and their adorable grandson, turned the tables and taught me a lesson this week. As I was leaving their home, I invited them to the Harvest Fest, and attempted to leave the rest of the veggies with them, but they refused, and only accepted half! I'm so proud that the Peace Patch is working with the students from the school, but that it is bringing the community together as well, the family said they would try to make it to the Harvest Fest and wished me on my way, but as I left, the old man slipped me a piece of paperI leave you as they left me, with a quote/note ; “Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” Thank you for your work, because of you and your friends (You guys!) there is hope for my grandson and his children's children. God bless, and keep growing. Never lose your sunshine! -H

Wishing you all a wonderful monday, just keep growing!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bug Hunt!

Todays lesson was all about insects, generally a fan favorite amongst the kids, today was no exception. At the beginning of the lesson we sat all the kids down and went over the different types of insects, and their garden niches, and basic anatomy. After reflecting on all that bugs do in the garden, it was time to go see them in their natural habitats. So the kids begin a great, and often funny hunt for bugs. Make sure you are ready to find some cockroaches if you pick up a log! Commonly found insects included roly polys, butterflies, moths, bees, cockroaches, beetles, worms, ants, lady bugs and spiders. 
(These young scientist found a nest of roly polys)

(Cockroach and its eggs, a big hit with the students)

The Sanderlin garden is absolutely bursting with fresh produce that is close if not ready to be picked and eaten, a task that our kids excel at. Some cucumbers, banana peppers, and sweet potatoes were harvested by some of our kids to either eat as a snack, or to take home and share with their parents. With the harvest festival coming up, soon it will be time to harvest most everything and begin to look towards next semester garden. In the picture below you will see a bunch of mescaline greens that are hanging up to dry, so we can get their seeds to plant in the fall. The harvest festival is May 8th at the Enoch Davis Center, I hope to see you all there!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Garbanzo Brains

It was a beautiful and sunny day today in the Sanderlin Peace Patch, and we had a full shift of 3 back-to-back classes with just enough time left at the end to water the garden.  With the kindergarteners today we discussed the importance of sunlight to plants. Most of the kids recognized the essential function of the sun in providing light energy for the plant to turn into food, but wouldn’t really sit still long enough to go into any sort of depth. We promptly headed into the garden to show them the way in which plants use different mechanisms to absorb the most sunlight. The kids were pretty amazed when we explained to them how sunflowers follow the sun as it moves in the sky, which is always a rewarding feeling. 

When the first graders came in we switched over the lesson to the life cycle of a bean plant. After going through the different stages and showing the kids pictures, we went into the garden to look at the yellow bean and garbanzo bean plants. As I opened one of the garbanzo pods and showed them the bean inside, the first thing out of Myle’s mouth was “Ahhh it looks like a brain!”
So garbanzo beans were called garbanzo brains for the remainder of the session, which was perfectly fine with me.

Myles holding a garbanzo brain

Something about these gardens has made the time fly right before my eyes. I feel like I just started in this new teaching role, and now we only have a short two weeks left with these kids. Though there have been times where I have felt frustrated or overwhelmed by chaos, I don’t think I wouldn’t have gotten the same meaning out of this experience without those moments. It has been those hectic, stressful times that have taught me the most and have made me laugh the hardest, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sunshine is Here for Good!

As the past blog said, the sun was out and shining all week. That was perfect for our lesson because the lesson plan was on sunshine and how plants used it. As our second grade classes came out they knew all about how plants need sun and they even knew about photosynthesis. Our discussion before we went into the garden was mainly them telling us what they already knew. When we went into the garden the class walked around telling which plants needed more sun light depending on their leaf size.

(our first class eating the lettuce and holding out their hands representing how plants would take in sunlight)

(our second class showing the lettuce that they were about to taste)

As you can see from the pictures both of the classes found the bed of lettuce. They were telling me how the lettuce clearly needed lots of energy from the sun and that is why the leafs were so big. Most of the kids loved the lettuce and came back for seconds and thirds. I don't know if anyone remembers my friend Grub I talked about earlier in the semester, but he is in there with a piece of lettuce in his mouth! He told me that he was being risky today by trying the vegetable and it honestly made my day! I talked about earlier how all I wanted to do was for him to eat a vegetable and he did. He ate the whole leaf too. 

(Some kids checking out the squash) 

(cucumber and squash that I harvested) 
- Dani

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Simon Says...Wiggle Your Leaves

   Today at Sanderlin Elementary School we had the chance to do a little bit of everything with Pre-K students. We started by giving a lesson on why the sun is so important for plants to grow and how they use the sunlight to turn it into food. This process is formally known as photosynthesis, to the children it is adorably known as a plant sun bathing.

(Gazing up at the sun like a plant would to absorb sunlight)

   This led us to into a fun game of Simon says, where your feet are your roots, waist is your stem, arms and hands are your leaves and last but not least your head is the beautiful flower.

(Simon Says..touch your Flower)
(Simon Says..wiggle your leaves)

                  After our game we picked a pepper and opened it up revealing all of its seeds.
  Next, we let the children plant the seeds in an empty space in one of the garden beds; they were so proud of their seed that they planted themselves. Being in the garden whether it is to teach, learn, work or simply enjoy brings a sense of empowerment from age four and beyond. This is evident for the children when you hear how proud they are to plant their own seed. I realize how empowering it has been for myself when the children know the answers of the garden and thank me and share how much they love coming to the garden. This garden may not solve all of the problems that these children face at school, at home and out in the real world but it gives them an experience you cannot build in a classroom. It gives them something that they belong too, that is theirs and they have had a part in creating. When you plant a seed you have to think about the future and the steps to take to help the seed flourish into a beautiful and nourishing plant. That may be just a lesson plan that we share with the children but it embeds the process of thinking about a future and what it takes to get there within these children. Hopefully they will walk away from the garden thinking about their future and what they can do to make their lives and this world a better place.

God Bless,

Monday, April 15, 2013

A hot and fun Monday

What a lovely day at the garden,

Wow! Today was an especially warm morning.  The weather in Florida is starting to return to its hot and humid self.  Upon arrival,  I did a little walk around the garden and observed all the fruits and vegetables that were beginning to really flourish.    The amount of green that has invaded the garden is so beautiful.  Compared to what it started at just a few months ago,  the progress has been simply amazing.   Returning every new time to the garden is becoming such an exciting event, filled with a surprise each time.  That is the beauty of gardening!


Beans climbing!


The lesson plan for the kids today was focused on the seasons.  We talked about the difference in plant growths within the four seasons.  We also discussed what fruit or vegetable grows best in which season.   The kids were really engaged today and it was quite rewarding to see how excited they got about answering questions.   After we sat and talked for a little bit, we all went and walked around the garden.  We looked at the progress of the garden and the kids were amazed at the size of the peppers and how sweet the peas tasted.  The connection that has been built between these kids is really starting to show.  I appreciate them just as much as they appreciate me!

Talking with the kids
Overall, it was once again a lovely and successful at the Sanderlin Garden.  

Goodbye for now,

Sally :)