Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh 


December 2013

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In This Issue
Dilworth and Urban League
Colfax and ECS
Faison and Montessori
Food Hero of the Month
Featured Headline
ESY PGH Recipe of the Month

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Students Reached

Student Hours in the Garden: 140

Student Hours in the Classroom: 85


Volunteer Hours: 140
"Farmer Jim, could you harvest some fresh kale for my lunch?"

-Sonny, ECS Student


Anansi the Spider 
by Gerald McDermott
   In connection with our Groundnut Stew lessons focused on West Africa, we're reading Anansi the Spider in cooking class!  What will that sneaky spider do next?
Book Suggestions Wanted! 
What gardening or food-centric books are you reading with your child or student?  We welcome your input and suggestions!  Just reply to this email and we will try to feature suggested books in upcoming newsletters!



Join, Support and Learn with 
Grow Pittsburgh!

Check out some of our upcoming events, opportunities and resources:





 This month's Let Us Eat dinner in support of Grow Pittsburgh is going to be held at Curon December 12th.  Let us eat!







The Urban Harvester: 
Online Garden 
Planning Tools

Each week, Grow Pittsburgh's Director of Agricultural Production, Susanna Meyer, shares her knowledge of urban growing, harvest and eating!



Announcing --
A Garden Primer 2013!

Got a question or two about vegetable gardening?  Join us for our series of 3 courses, taught by Grow Pittsburgh staff,  designed to get you gardening!



Cooking in the Classroom



   At ESY Pittsburgh, we believe in the power of food to bring students from diverse backgrounds and experiences together through collaborative food exploration, preparation and tasting.

   When a group of people - in this case, a classroom - learns and cooks together, a transformation takes place.  Working toward a common goal of food preparation allows all to feel needed, safe and focused on one communal (and delicious) goal.

   ESY Pittsburgh students are at the start of our Winter Cooking Program where they learn and cook with peers in their "kitchen classroom" using food from their school garden.  We hope this time together enables students to connect with their garden, their food, their health, their peers, new cultures and core content as they eat and enjoy together!



   Read on to find out what ESY students were up to in November and how the start of the Winter Cooking Program is going!  Scroll to the bottom for our Food Hero and ESY Recipes of the Month!


Pittsburgh Dilworth
Located in Highland Park
   This month, the kindergarten classes have finished putting our garden beds to sleep for the winter, besides a few brassica plants that are still holding on in the garden. The snowy weather hasn't hindered our fun in garden class -- we have been having a blast with food-centered lessons in the classroom! One of our favorite fall lessons was making popcorn and butter indoors. After we harvested our popcorn from the garden, we hung it in the classroom to dry for several weeks. The students picked the kernels off the cobs, and learned that every time we eat corn we eat the seed part of the plant. While we cooked our popcorn, we learned where butter comes from and how to make it. We melted our homemade butter and drizzled it on our popcorn, and enjoyed it together. Not only was this lesson fun and delicious, but it brought our lesson programming full circle: from the food we grew together in the garden all the way to our sustenance.
   Another favorite lesson at Dilworth was apple tasting.  We sampled three different apple varieties like gala, braeburn, and granny smith and made a chart of our favorites. The apple spirals made by our apple corer never fail to amaze! This lesson was loads of fun and engaged the children through the utilization of all of their senses. It also gave the kids an opportunity to form an opinion and share their thoughts with their peers.  With the close of the fall season, I will be wrapping up my lessons with the kindergarten classes. It is hard to move on, but I'm thrilled to begin a great winter season of cooking with the 2nd grade classes at Dilworth!
The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School
Located in East Liberty
   With our garden resting for the winter, we have been busy indoors at ULGPCS.  The kindergarten and 2nd grade classes have made popcorn and butter in our classrooms, and have also sampled apple varieties to distinguish the differences in flavor and texture. We focused on wheat: how it is grown and processed, its strong presence in our diets, and its nutritional benefits. The students processed wheat seeds and grinded them to make whole wheat flour. To synthesize this lesson, we tasted whole wheat bread with butter infused with herbs from our garden. The kids loved tasting fresh herbs during our garden lessons this fall. Their inclusion in this lesson deepened the connection between nourishment and the garden for the children. As we wrap up our fall lesson programming, the students will be learning how to make applesauce as we enjoy this delicious snack together.
   With the close of the fall season, I will be moving on to first and fifth grade for our Winter Cooking Program. It has been quite a pleasure, however, wrapping up with kindergarten and second grade. We have been reflecting upon the fall season, writing journal entries and making a class poster of our garden memories. I've been blown away by the amount of information the kids have retained, and the richness and detail they use in speaking about their favorite garden experiences. These transitions are never easy, but I'm looking forward to a great winter season at ULGPCS! 
-Farmer Molly

Pittsburgh Colfax
Located in Squirrel Hill

One of my favorite things to teach children is the concept of the seasons and the many cycles of life. When an early November snowstorm brought garden class inside for the day, I decided this was a perfect opportunity to teach my kindergarten students more about the seasons. With the help of Lynne Cherry's How Groundhog's Garden Grew, we explored winter's slumber, spring's new life, the green abundance of summer, and the continued harvest of fall.

Nestled between two weeks of snow, we were blessed with a week of warm weather, and able to return to the garden for one last visit. We sang Frere Jacques to learn the french dormir (to sleep)  and reinforce the concept of winter dormancy. Next, we collected a blanket of the trees' last leaves, which we used to mulch our garden beds. It always is fun to play in the leaves, but don't worry, I reminded my students that we weren't playing--this was hard work. 

The Environmental Charter School
Located in Regent Square

   Thanks to my supportive supervisors at Grow Pittsburgh, I have had the freedom to develop many of my own approaches to teaching lessons. As I loaded my picnic basket with various dried herbs, all grown in the school garden, I couldn't help but be grateful for the rich opportunities this independence has provided me. With the leaves of Tulsi, Mint, and Passionflower (and some hot water), Ms. K's 3rd graders and I were able to have our very own herbal tea party, and I was able to read from one of my favorite stories: The Shaman's Apprentice by Lynne Cherry and Mark Plotkin. The story, which takes places in the Amazon Rainforest, celebrates the healing power of plants, and tells the importance of ensuring that knowledge is passed on from our community elders to our young.

   Thanks to Ms. Karichko's deep commitment to her students and her strong, supportive role in my own teaching, I have been able to develop many connections to what they are learning outside of garden class. After their recent field trip to the Heinz History Center's Meadowcroft Village, we spent much of garden class discussing the different ways humans interacted in their daily lives with food and gardening 200 and even 400 years ago. We finished class by attempting two historic approaches to milling flour: with a hand-cranked mill and with a mortar and pestle.

-Farmer Jim
Pittsburgh Faison
Located in Homewood
   We happily began our Winter Cooking Program with Mrs. Lucot's second quarter science classes. Welcome to all the students in Ms. Burg's, Ms. Capozolli's, Ms. Germany's, and Ms. Boyd's classes! We began our unit by brainstorming our favorite garden foods - fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds! Everyone could think of one (or many!) healthy foods they love to eat. Broccoli and apples were some of the favorites! We also learned the names of all seven continents, so that while we continue to learn about foods around the world, we will also be able to find these places on a map! Last week we learned to make Three Sisters Soup with corn, beans, and squash from North America. What an exciting beginning to our cooking program!

   In other news this month, we finished up our first semester of After School Garden Club by pulling out the last of our sunflowers and other garden plants and putting them in the compost. I am looking forward to seeing everyone back outside in the garden in the springtime when the weather is warmer and we are ready to plant again!
   Coming up: Cooking up Groundnut Stew from the West African country of Mali in garden classes!

Pittsburgh Montessori
Located in Friendship
  We began the Winter Cooking Program with new classes at Pittsburgh Montessori! I am really excited to be working with the students from Ms. Schafers', Ms. Winter's, and Ms. Hayes' classes this quarter. Classes prepared to cook and try new things by first coming up with l
ists of their favorite healthy foods! Montessori students love seaweed, guava, and apricots (there were so many great foods listed in class!). We then explored the Three Sisters crops - corn, beans, and squash from North America. Last week, we prepared and ate a Three Sisters Soup, which literally disappeared from the soup pot in each class - students were coming up for seconds and thirds!
   In Ms. Liberati's and Ms. Costello's 3-6 classrooms, we have continued our exploration of the parts of plants by focusing our past two lessons on seeds and fruits. We took the seeds out of beans, corn cobs, and sunflower seed heads, and used them to write the first letter of our names. Last week, we used an apple corer and slicer to learn how to make applesauce from scratch, and then got to eat this tasty "fruit snack" in class.
  Coming up: We're making West African Groundnut Stew, one of last year's most loved recipes, in classes!

-Farmer Courtney


ESY Food Hero of the Month : 
Dale Woolf of Woolf Farms!

   Dale Woolf --and his family at Woolf Farms, located in Eastern Ohio-- have donated over 3 bushels of delicious apples to ESY Pittsburgh this fall.  We can't thank them enough for their generosity toward our fall cooking program!  Here's what Dale had to say when we visited him at the East Liberty Farmer's Market last month:

ESY: What do you do on an average day?
DW: For the past 65 years, my family has grown and cared for produce on our family 
farm.  Everyday, we work to bring fresh produce from our family to yours.

ESY: What do you love about your job?
DW: I get to provide people with fresh, nutritious produce year-round.  I love developing relationships with different communities!

ESY: What is your food mission for kids and families?
DW: We would like to see younger generations learn where their food comes from.
From the staff and students of ESY Pittsburgh -- 
Thank you, Woolf Farms!

Outdoor Classroom Benches Installed
   A big THANK YOU goes out to Pittsburgh Urban Tree for creating these beautiful new outdoor classroom benches for our Faison ESY garden.  We were able to purchase the benches thanks to a
Whole Food Whole Kids grant. Come spring, these benches will hold a full class of Faison students for garden-based discussions, we can't wait!  We welcome you to stop by the garden at 7430 Taioga Street in Homewood to check it out.

ESY PGH Recipe of the Month:

Three Sisters Soup


2 Tbs. olive oil

2 c. water

2 c. vegetable broth

2 c. corn (sweet corn or hominy)

2 c. beans (any type)

2 c. winter squash, cubed

1-2 c. potato, grated or diced

1 small onion

3 cloves garlic (optional)

1 t. dried sage

╝ c. fresh parsley, chopped

1 t. chipotle powder

salt to taste


1.   Heat olive oil in stockpot, sautÚ onion until translucent.

2.    Add water, broth and squash - cook 10 min or until squash begins to feel tender.

3.    Add corn, beans, potato, garlic, herbs and spices - cook 5-10 minutes or until potato and squash are cooked to desired consistency.

4.   Ladle into bowls and enjoy!


Chef's Note: Corn, beans and squash (The Three Sisters) are a complete protein when eaten together.  Read more about this trio here.


  We're taking the month of January off (in terms of our newsletter, at least) to reset ourselves.  See you all again in early February with our next ESY Pittsburgh newsletter.  'Till then, may your winter be restful, warm and bright!

-The Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh team


Contact Info

Grow Pittsburgh 

6587 Hamilton Ave

# 2W 

Pittsburgh, PA 15206 

412-362-GROW (4769)