Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh 


April 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
Faison and Pittsburgh Montessori
Dilworth and Urban League
Colfax and ECS
Urban Harvester
Workshop Series
ESY PGH Recipe of the Month

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Students Reached: 
Student Hours in the Garden: 168
Student Hours in the Classroom: 270


Volunteer Hours: 329
Q: What did you do today in garden class?
A: "We turned the soil over and broke up the chunks so that our plant roots will be able to breathe." 
-4th grader at Urban League School 




And Then It's Spring
by Julie Fogliano


"Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they've had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way."

Great for K-2 students.



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!




This local business can supply all your soil and compost needs. ESY Pittsburgh gets a 60% topsoil and 40% compost mix from these folks to fill our raised beds.  

Cornell Study Shows:
 School Gardens Increase Student's Physical Activity

  "To get schoolchildren moving, uproot them from classrooms into school gardens, concludes a two-year Cornell study of 12 elementary schools in five New York regions."  

Alice Waters' "Note to Self" 

See what world famous chef and Edible Schoolyard creator Alice Waters has to say to her younger self.  


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 Cure on April 10th.  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!




Springing Out to Garden Class!


  This long winter gave ESY Pittsburgh students and Garden Educators extra time to plan and prepare for spring.  But, we can only anticipate for so long -- it's time to get our hands dirty!  We have a sunny April forecast and plenty of garden work on our schedule, so let's get growing!


  Read on to see what the past month and the next month look like at Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh.




----- Flagship Schools -----
Our Garden Educators teach 4+ weekly classes 
at our 6 Flagship Schools detailed below.  
Pittsburgh Faison
Located in Homewood
   Happy Spring! We've had a busy month getting ready to go outside to the garden. We've learned a lot about some of our smaller garden friends - honeybees and earthworms - and then we headed outside. In our new, beautiful garden classroom, Mrs. T's 1st grade class and Mrs. Wick's kindergarten class learned all about tool safety. Then, students got to use many different garden tools to start tilling our garden beds. Can your student tell you what tilling adds to our soil? (Air!). Coming up: we're planting cool-season crops in the garden - sugar snap peas, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli!



Pittsburgh Montessori

Located in Friendship



   Mrs. Minahan and Mrs. Skundrich's 6-9 classes finally made it outside for some gardening in the sun this month! We learned all about tool safety and then put our digging skills to work! Some students found our favorite soil-makers, earthworms, while others helped plant sugar snap peas and spinach. We also spent some time this month learning more in depth about the honeybee, a friend of the garden and an excellent pollinator.
   In Ms. Meyers and Ms. Kanarkowski's 3-6 classes, we spent a good part of this month snacking on garden treats. We got excited about what we grow in our school garden by tasting a "rainbow of garden foods" (beets! blueberries! apples! carrots! broccoli!). We also explored the world of the worm both inside the classroom and in the garden.
Coming up: we'll be watching for our oyster mushrooms to fruit in class, and we'll be planting broccoli and lettuce in the garden!
-Farmer Courtney

 Pittsburgh Dilworth

Located in Highland Park
Photo by James Souder

   The 2nd graders at Dilworth have wrapped up the Winter Cooking Program! We had a blast learning about different food histories, cultures and growing strategies, but we especially loved cooking together and tasting the fruits of our labor. Your second grader has a "Food Journal" with all of our recipes - try to cook them at home, and let me know which you like best! The kids also loved sampling pumpkin butter, strawberry jam, sunflower seed butter and whole wheat bread. Try making these delicious snacks at home too!

   Things are gearing up in the garden!  We are crossing our fingers that this crazy winter weather is behind us, and that the 1st grade classes will be spending lots of time in the garden together soon. They have already been out to examine the ingredients in soil, as we focused on a perfect soil "recipe" in one of our lessons. They learned about germination and plant needs by examining broccoli seedlings, reinforcing their knowledge of plants and Brassicas in their first grade science curriculum. In the upcoming weeks, the students will be tilling our soil (hopefully finding lots of earthworms) and planting a wide variety of spring crops, including sugar snap peas, turnips, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and arugula. We are hoping to have lots of produce ready for our Spring Garden Night on Thursday, May 15 from 6-8pm. Mark your calendars and be on the look out for posters with more information!


Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School
Located in East Liberty
  Spring has finally arrived, and we couldn't be happier at ULGPCS! The third and fourth grade classes are preparing our garden for a great growing season. We began by focusing on germination and plant needs in the classroom. We even created our own plants, detailing our botanical drawings by labeling all the plant parts. Be sure to ask your student what the 5 main parts of a plant are, and what their unique plant was! (for example, money, ice cream, pizza, and even video games sprouted from the fruits of the plants we created).  We also learned about vermicomposting, or composting with worms, and examined red wrigglers doing their work! The students drew their own "worm houses" to synthesize their experience.

With the arrival of warmer weather, the kids have finally joined me in the garden! We have already tilled most of our beds, to ensure that our plant roots have enough air. Together we planted a wide variety of spring veggies, including sugar snap peas, turnips, radishes, spinach, lettuce, and arugula. We are SO excited to be eating spring salads before the end of the school year! Finally, we have our Earth Day Event coming up on Friday, April 25! This event will take place throughout the school day, and every grade will be coming outdoors for a different project related to the garden. If you are interested in joining us, please email me at [email protected] or call 412-443-9654.

-Farmer Molly
Colfax Elementary
Located in Squirrel Hill

   As spring begins, a new batch of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students have begun their lunchtime garden club. They are busy preparing the garden beds for planting and busy drawing up plans of what to plant using the square foot method. And 1st grade students have begun garden class with experiments to see what plants need to grow: can they grow without soil, without sunlight, water, air?

   Meanwhile, the Colfax Garden Committee has been planning the 2nd annual Colfax Wake Up the Garden event. Mark your calendars for Saturday April 26th, 2-4pm, rain or shine, at the Colfax Edible Schoolyard garden. This Colfax community and family-fun event will feature tree planting, worm-bin exploration, a Bring-Your-Own-Salsa tasting, yummy garden snacks, student-run garden tours, live music, and more! We encourage students, friends, families and neighbors all to attend.

   As part of the event, we are collecting food donations to benefit the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry. You are invited to donate a canned vegetable or fruit. Cereal, canned chicken and tuna, and other donations would also be appreciated!

Environmental Charter School
Located in Regent Square

   At the end of a long winter spent inside cooking with Mr. Szpila and his fourth grade students, families were invited to join us in cooking a meal together at the Upper School cafeteria. In the tradition of Stone Soup, families were asked to bring an ingredient for soup or salad. One stone sat boiling in a pot of water as the first family arrived, with an onion to add. Soon, another family with lentils and carrots. Never really knowing how the meal would end up, families continued to pour in, offering their ingredients and offering their help. 4th grade students volunteered to show off their knife skills, learned after months of cooking class, while younger students helped grate beets (a very messy job). Parents were busy looking over the young helpers and making last minute decisions in seasoning the dishes. In the end, Family Cooking Night was a delicious success. I must give a big thanks to Ms. Kelsey, who provided many necessary tools as well as some much needed help and support.

   Meanwhile, spring has sprung. As 3rd grade students are busy with their PSSA testing, small chicks are hatching in their classroom, the frost is thawing, and the small clover seeds they had broadcast are about to germinate.

-Farmer Jim
Urban Harvester : 
Your Weekly Pittsburgh Garden Update  
This week: Insects and Pests - Beneficial Wasps
     You may have seen the Urban Harvester highlight along the left side-bar in past ESY Pittsburgh Newsletters, but have you ever clicked on the link and explored the post and archives?  Each week Susanna Meyer, Grow Pittsburgh's Director of Agricultural Production, posts helpful garden and cooking updates specific to Pittsburgh.  Check it out - you'll be glad you did!  

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!
*Note: Workshops are filling up fast!  Please check our website for available slots!

ESY PGH Recipe of the Month

Potato Crunchers

Serves 3-4
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t dried sage
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 16 small red or white new potatoes
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Combine all ingredients except potatoes in a bowl.
3. Wash and scrub potatoes.  Pat dry.
4. Put potatoes and herb mixture into a container with a lid.
5. Put lid on tight and shake!
6. Put potatoes on a large oiled baking sheet.
7. Remove from oven and turn potatoes over.
8. Bake another 20 minutes. (Potatoes should be crispy brown on the outside.)
9. Transfer potatoes to a shallow bowl and serve!
Note: In 1995, the potato became the first vegetable grown in outer space!

   Welcome to the season of rebirths, regenerations and restarts!  May this month bring just the type of newness you and your family need.  To a growing April!

-The Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh team


Contact Info

Grow Pittsburgh 

6587 Hamilton Ave

# 2W 

Pittsburgh, PA 15206 

412-362-GROW (4769)