Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh 


March 2014

We're glad you're here. 
 If you are interested in more information on food education or school gardens, we welcome you to visit our website:


 or contact us:







In This Issue
Student Journal Entry
Flagship School Updates
Jamie Oliver Blog Post
Workshop Series
ESY PGH Recipe of the Month
A Garden Primer

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Students Reached
Student Hours in the Garden: 140
Student Hours in the Classroom: 244


Volunteer Hours: 290
Farmer Molly: 
"Would you like to make this recipe at home?"

Kyra, Urban League Student: "Yes, I'm trying to help my parents lose weight, and these recipes are good because they have lots of veggies." 





Wonderful Worms
by Linda Glaser


"Encourages an appreciation for the small creatures of the earth by explaining the vital role that earthworms play in the planet's ecosystem, with cross-section illustrations of the worm's underground environment and informative charts."
At ESY Pittsburgh, we're reading Wonderful Worms as part of a series on beneficial insects.


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!


Educators and Parents 
Take Note!  Nutrition Education Videos Available

   Ever wondered how to introduce your young child to new foods and reinforce healthy eating habits?
 This series of five videos created by the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition gives practical examples for your and your child or student.

Happy viewing and learning!

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 will be held at Industry Public House on March 13th.  Let us eat!









Would you like to volunteer with Grow Pittsburgh this growing season?  Serve your community and learn a few new gardening skills along the way!



The Urban Harvester: 
Organic Garden Products

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

Click here to check out the latest Urban Harvester on choosing the right organic gardening products!


While the Snow Falls...

Students Plan for Spring!


   Pittsburgh's unusually blustery winter (along with the many school closings and delays) has not stopped Garden Educators and ESY students from plowing into food education!  Students are still cooking recipes from around the globe and beginning to dream and plan for their spring gardens.  


  Read on to to see and hear what's been cooking and what's ahead!



ESY Student Journal Entry by: 
Heyd Reyes 
in the 6th-9th Grade Classroom 
at Pittsburgh Montessori

"We have  a lot of fun with Farmer Courtney.
This month we learned how to germinate seeds.
A seed needs to be planted in the right time of the year.
Seeds need sunlight,water,air and soil.Some seeds grow when they're planted in the spring, some in the summer.
An example of a spring plant is peas. An example of a summer plant is tomatoes. The climate where you live tells you what plants you can grow."


Well done, Heyd!  Does your ESY student have something to share that they learned from garden class?  Send it our way!


-- Flagship School Updates --
We teach 4+ weekly gardening and cooking classes at each of our 6 Flagship Schools.  Here's what we've been up to this month...

Environmental Charter School
Located in Regent Square

   As we finished cleaning up the flour from the desks and floor of the classroom after a day of milling wheat and kneading dough, and as our last cooking class drew to a close, I asked my fourth grade students to reflect back on our time cooking together. I asked for their favorite recipes.  They replied with the following list: sushi, making sunbutter, and rice noodle salad.
I asked how many students tried something new as a result of our cooking class and saw a room full of raised hands.

   I asked what they liked about cooking class and what they would change. Here are a few more of their responses: "I liked how you didn't just show us how to make the food and then let us eat, but we actually got to do all the steps ourselves, and learn where our food comes from and how it is made." "I liked how we tried so many different foods from such different places around the world." "Next year, there should be more recipes from each of the different countries, so we can see all the different foods people eat in each place." "It was nice to work together as a community." "Next year, you should buy a freezer, so that when we do the sushi lesson, we can have the option of using fish."

Colfax Elementary
Located in Squirrel Hill

    Some of the most rewarding moments in teaching our winter cooking classes come when a child connects to the cultural content of our lessons and is given the opportunity to be proud, before their classmates, of their own ethnic heritage. Such was the case when I pulled out chopsticks instead of forks in Colfax's second grade classrooms. There would be a quiet chatter of excitement, often in another language, and smiles would appear on the faces of those students who were already familiar with chopsticks. As I presented chopsticks to those students who hadn't used them before, I'd let those students who were more experienced share their knowledge and assist their classmates. Quickly, the classroom became a community of learners, helping each other to acquire a new skill.

   When it came time to fill out our worksheets, we were able to fill out the blank "Country:________" not just with the word 'Japan,' but also with the Japanese character for Japan, thanks to a student who proudly volunteered to write the character on the board. I began to feel less like a teacher in the traditional sense, and more of a facilitator in these students shared learning, and this felt good. The next week, after preparing Rice Noodle Salad, students were begging for chopsticks, and used them to proudly and happily slurp up their noodles.

-Farmer Jim


Pittsburgh Montessori

Located in Friendship


   We've been dancing, dancing, dancing around the classroom like plants this month - growing roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits. In addition the these fun botany lessons, we also learned about what grows where... is your food from a tropical region or a temperate one? If it is from a temperate region (like Pittsburgh!), what season did it grow in, winter, spring, summer, or fall?
   Our youngest gardeners in the 3-6 classrooms also investigated tropical food plants to tie in with their studies of South America and Brazil! They also were visited by some red wriggler worms in the classroom this month. Does your student know what worms make?  Soil!



Pittsburgh Faison

   Located in Homewood

   February has been cold outside, but we've been having lots of fun inside the classroom,learning all about the parts of a plant in Mrs. T and Mrs. Wick's classes. Can your students how you how to dance like a plant? We've also planted bean seeds and are watching them grow - above and below the soil! Looking ahead to next month, we will learning all about (and getting a visit from) some wonderful worms, and we will be starting our outdoor lessons again for next year!
-Farmer Courtney



Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School
Located in East Liberty


   The first and fifth grade classes at Urban League have finished up the Winter Cooking Program! We used a mortar and pestle to grind sunflower seeds in the classroom, to make "sunbutter." Be sure to ask your student what a "groundnut" is, and how much they loved their Groundnut Stew! Next, we made a Middle Eastern Tabbouleh salad, and broke down each of its ingredients. We learned why whole grains are the healthiest for our bodies, and that they are delicious, too! We finished our tour of world cuisines with a Rice Noodle Salad, focusing on the companion planting strategies that Japanese rice farmers employ. Our noodles, packed full of veggies, were so tasty and fun to eat!

We have also begun planning our Earth Day event for 2014! Each grade will perform a different garden project, either expanding our growing capacity or making our garden space more beautiful and functional.  More details to come!  Contact me if you'd like to help!
Pittsburgh Dilworth
Located in Highland Park
    Our Winter Cooking Program is going strong with the second lesson about African crops like peanuts (or "groundnuts"), and cooked a delicious Groundnut Stew. Be sure to ask your 2nd grader how to make a tasty substitute for peanut butter!  This yummy recipe is full of kale, sweet potatoes, and other great veggies that can be grown in our garden. Next, we shifted our focus to the Middle East, and learned about the ingredients in Tabbouleh. Our "tabbouleh time" game allowed students to explore unfamiliar foods, like bulgur wheat, and think about different categories of food. Both of these recipes also helped students develop practical cooking skills like peeling, chopping, grating, and measuring.
   Finally, we are beginning the preparations for this year's Spring Garden Night! Updates to come!
-Farmer Molly

    ESY Featured in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Blog

Our Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh program manager's blog post on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution reveals what we can all do to encourage the next generation's passion to create a more just food system.     

Grow Pittsburgh Garden Workshop Series

   Free and open to all gardeners!  We are very excited to host the 2014Grow Pittsburgh garden workshop series this spring, summer and fall on a wide variety of urban and school gardening topics.  Follow this link for descriptions of the available workshops for this growing season.  Registration is required for participation as some workshops have limited space.  Come learn with us!
We'd especially suggest:
Engaging Kids in the Garden Workshop
Saturday May 3rd, 10:30-noon

ESY PGH Recipe of the Month

Rice Noodle Salad
A recipe from our Winter Cooking Program




    This allergen friendly recipe was a student favorite this winter.  Packed with fresh vegetables and tasty seasonings, it's sure to please adults and kids alike.  Click on this link to access the recipe on our website!




Grow Pittsburgh Is Proud to Present...

   Don't know the first thing about vegetable gardening, but want to learn?  Do you have some experience but want to improve your growing?  Join us for our 3-part educational series.  Spots still available for April!  For information and to register,


While the snow may still be falling, spring is indeed not far off!  May you and your family enjoy the last of the cold weather and yet maintain hope for spring's sun this month.

-The Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh team


Contact Info

Grow Pittsburgh 

6587 Hamilton Ave

# 2W 

Pittsburgh, PA 15206 

412-362-GROW (4769)