Students Dig in at OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park

Middle and High School Students have been busy in the Living Library Gardens this Fall semester building a new worm farm, digging and planting water-recycling gardens, and cooking up healthy meals of freshly harvested vegetables at the  OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park. During the school day, five hundred students from science classes, special needs classes, as well as social studies and arts classes at James Denman Middle School and Leadership High School come to the garden regularly to learn ecology and science through interactive lessons and team garden activities.

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In a A Living Library's science classes, students discussed the severe drought in California and explored the concept of using local resources in the garden. Together, the classes made the water-wise choice to create a garden that reuses water from the sink in our garden kitchen.

Students cleared out an area next to the sink and shaped the earth into a "Grey water Oasis" complete with an island, native flowers, herbs and cattail pond. Now the water we use to wash hands and dishes has created a vibrant ecosystem enjoyed by the students as well as the butterflies and hummingbirds. A.L.L. Green Futures Eco-Stewards in the after-school program decided to repurpose the old garden sink into a new Worm Farm and built a frame and walls. The A.L.L Eco-Stewards learned how to make a sketch of their idea, measure the wood pieces, and safely use saws, hammers and nails to put together this cozy new home for the worms.

A.L.L. Eco-Stewards measure and cut wood for Worm Farm and enjoy new Grey-Water Garden Oasis that they created.

During science class, students come into the garden to learn about healthy nutrition, harvest fresh vegetables, cook and share food together. In addition to the gardening and building projects, students harvested fresh chard, zucchini, kale, carrots, radishes, beans, and other vegetables from the Gardens and cooked a range of healthy dishes together.

Students prepared dishes with whole grains and vegetables including a tempeh stir fry with black rice, vegetable sushi, quinoa salad with greens and beets, as well as sweet treats such as rice pudding and oatmeal with fresh fruit and spices.

A.L.L. Eco-Stewards wash and prepare vegetables they harvested in the garden.

 We wish to thank the students from James Denman Middle Schools and Leadership High School who cooperatively worked together to make many improvements in their Living Library & Think Park Gardens, Redwood Reading Circle, Farm Learning Zone, and Fruit Orchard this Fall. We are thankful for the recent rains and looking forward to a Spring 2016 Semester filled with many fun days learning in the garden together!

By Grace Dowd