“Today in the garden it was bright and sunny and so I was happy” – 4th grade student during garden reflection at the end of class.
We are so grateful to our wonderful partners, dedicated staff, curious students, enthusiastic parents, advocates in the Green Team, generous supporters, and all of our committed volunteers!
We couldn’t do this type of work without people like you! On behalf of our students and staff, we thank you all for supporting our programs this past year! Here are our highlights from 2018 and things we’re looking forward to in 2019!
Anna Luberoff / Garden Programs Manager
- Highlight of 2018: During one class, a butterfly just landed so perfectly and gently on a kid’s hand. The look of awe and delight on his face was magical, and the whole class just froze in this perfect moment to witness a miracle. When it flew off, it felt like a spell was broken – like we had all been part of something truly beautiful and mysterious.
- Looking Forward to in 2019: Digging deeper with my 4th and 5th graders into how our garden operates as part of a larger food system. I am excited to talk and engage with them more about the role the garden plays in our school, our community, our neighborhood, and our city, and to push them to think critically about the limitations of our current food systems.
- I am also excited to have the BEETS working on and activating the Buchanan Mall I have a lot of hopes and dreams for the space and can’t wait to see how Debbie and the BEETS transform it!
Yaya Persing / Garden and Nutrition Educator
- Highlight of 2018: finding a snail in the garden with five Kindergarteners who were unable to contain their excitement. They got the rest of their class so that we could observe the snail’s traits together for a while. Someone spontaneously started to imitate the snails movements, which seamlessly gave way to calling out other animals and moving like them too. One unsuspecting snail gave us all 30 minutes of awe and giggles in the garden. Kids are the coolest.
- Looking Forward to in 2019: Buchanan Mall community events we are planning, especially Valentine’s day in the mall. Love is like the plants in our garden: resilient, it’s everywhere once you start looking, sometimes you can’t see it but it’s just getting ready to bloom, and we can all be part of it!!!
Emily Dial / Garden and Nutrition Educator
- Highlight of 2018: serving salad to students, teachers, and staff on salad days has been a definite highlight. Everyone gets so excited and it’s great to see students try to identify foods that grow in the garden.
- Looking Forward to in 2019:I can’t wait to meet and teach the kindergarten through 3rd grade students at John Muir! I’m sure they have plenty to teach me as well.
Karen Lally / Community Engagement Coordinator
- Highlight of 2018: The MLK Jr. Day of Service volunteer event. It was fun to work with the African American Arts and Culture Complex, Citizen Film, and 3.9 Art Collective doing projects with the volunteers in the garden. There were performances, different vol. stations, art projects, and a community lunch at the end. Plus it was a beautiful day!
- Looking Forward to in 2019: This year I’m looking forward to community workdays, salad days in the garden, and meeting new folks as they come through our volunteer program!
Kelly ErnstFriedman / Executive Director
- Highlight of 2018: Meeting and getting to know prospective BEETS in the group interview. Interviews can be nerve wracking but Debbie created a welcoming and fun space for the teens to get to know each and learn about the program. It was really inspiring to hear what drew each of them to apply and what they hoped to accomplish in the next few months and also later in life. It was also really awesome to see how well they connected with each other, even though they were meeting for the first time.
- Looking Forward to in 2019: Young people really do have so much to teach us and I can’t wait to get to know the BEET cohort better and see what they will accomplish this year. We have a lot of exciting opportunities to connect with residents on the Buchanan Mall and at Koshland Garden, and I think these teens are going to do an amazing job connecting with the community and sharing what all they are learning about food and environmental equity.