This week we saw the first class of students from the ReWA youth program, a middle school summer program targeting refugee and immigrant youths, visit Lettuce Link’s Seattle Community Farm for the first of a five-week gardening and nutrition curriculum based at the farm. The farm team consisting of Scott, Amelia, Kelly, and a few other interns split the kids up into three small groups rotating around stations centered on cooking/nutrition, gardening, and touring the farm.
In the garden, Scott showed off the farm highlights of the week: crops of lettuce, bok choy, snap peas, and beets among others. The kids were invited to harvest and sample the plumpest snap peas hanging off the vines, and gained interesting tidbits about each vegetable on the farm.
In Amelia’s group, the children busily staked the ground, claiming their own small plot for planting in hopes of harvesting their own line of crop at the end of five weeks. Interns scurried to and fro from the hose refilling watering buckets as the kids enthusiastically watered theirs, and also their friends’ seeds.
Finally, with seeds in the soil and the taste of fresh snap peas on their tongues, the last group filled out a short questionnaire and received a short nutrition lesson from Kelly. With raspberries making up the main ingredient balanced with ice, salt, honey, and lemons, everyone had the opportunity to have a glass of the natural electrolyte refreshment.
At the conclusion of the program, all the ReWA kids and the farm staff gathered for the closing circle to recap the day’s activities. “Today I learned that gardening is fun,” said one middle schooler. “Today I learned that you can make juice out of fresh fruit,” chimed in another. But as for me, the most important thing I learned was that no matter where you’re from or what your personal background, whether you’re from North Dakota or from Atlanta, from Central America or Asia, gardening is an act that brings communities together in a group effort that oversteps plots and boundaries.
Recipe by Leika Suzumura of Community Kitchens Northwest
This is a natural homemade electrolyte drink, minus the cost or artificial colors. Get creative with different combinations that you enjoy.
- 1 quart filtered water
- 1 cup fresh berries [we used raspberries]
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Fill ½ gallon pitcher with filtered water.
- Place raspberries in a bowl and gently smash them with a fork to break the skin and release juices. Pour into water.
- Add honey, salt, and lemon juice and stir.
- Taste and adjust to desired flavor and strength.
- Add ice and enjoy!
- You can use other berries for this drink, including strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.
- Cucumbers in place of raspberries works well.
- Add in fresh mint, lemon balm, or other refreshing herb to your taste.