Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chris Hadfield "Eco Hawks" and Irma Coulson "Garden Managers" Garden Day

Well, we definitely lucked out with the weather today- what a beautiful morning we had in the garden! The weather was warm and sunny for our group of 20 grade 7/8 students from Chris Hadfield and Irma Coulson Public School. It was great to have an advanced group of “Eco Hawks” and “Garden Managers” to teach them some more in-depth aspects of organic farming. We started the morning with a tour of the garden and informative talk by University of Guelph Professor Bruce McAdams about crop rotation, companion planting and what it means to be an organic garden. The student were able to try and one peppery tasting flower which is used to keep caterpillars from eating the garden’s lettuce. 

         After the garden tour, our Garden 2 Table team spoke to the students about what kinds of classes they can take in high school relating to sustainable, organic farming and gardening in preparation for University. They learnt that there are vast opportunities including clubs and school gardens they can get involved in once they’re graduated elementary school.

            We were grateful to have Hannah Batten, a University of Guelph student who works and volunteers in the garden, to give a thorough tour of the types of plants grown in the garden and when certain plants are harvested. The children (and volunteers!) were surprised to learn that one year the garden manager, Martha Gay, used lion poop to hang in stockings around the garden to keep deer and other hungry critters away from her crops!

After Hannah finished her tour around the garden, Martha showed the children what celeriac looks like once harvested and how to process it for consumption. The children learned what a labour intensive job it is to harvest all the vegetables for the weekly farmer’s market on campus. To finish up the afternoon, everyone moved to the greenhouse to start bundling sage, tulsi basil and Greek oregano to take home to their families. The children were in interested in learning about not only the edible aspect of herbs, but also their medicinal properties.

Next Monday, the children will be returning to PJ’s Restaurant on campus to try cooking with celeriac and various other herbs that were harvested in the garden. We can’t wait to have them back for another fun, educational day in the kitchen!

Jean Little Grade 4/5 in the Garden and the Kitchen - September 22, 2014

Whew! What an eventful first Garden 2 Table event we’ve had! We were grateful to have the Jean Little Public School’s grade 4/5 class of 25 students come out to the Macdonald Institute cooking lab and Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farm. Our day started out bright and early in the cooking lab with safe knife handling skills demo and some hand washing tips. The kids were broken off into groups of 3 and paired with one of our lovely Garden 2 Table volunteers to get our hands on some garden fresh foods.

This week we made “Honey Roasted Roots,” “Homemade Tzatziki Dip,” and “Fresh Herb Dressing.” The dressing was made in mason jars to allow the children to see the separation of oils and vinegars and to incorporate some of the herbs such as dill and thyme-which we would be picking in the garden later in the afternoon. Everyone seemed to learn something new including how to cut with a knife, what different fresh herbs looked like and how to see some common measuring tools.  One of the highlights of the day was definitely all the tasting new flavours and vegetables! It was a sight to see the children reaching for more roasted parsnips which many hadn’t heard of until this day.

After we finished in the lab, it was straight to garden to get our hands dirty! Martha Gay greeted us was ready to show us the ropes about herbs. Upon arrival the children first ate their lunches around the picnic tables while our volunteers picked some raspberries for the children to try for dessert. Once lunch was over we moved to the greenhouse to learn about harvesting and drying some common herbs from the garden including Greek oregano,  tulsi basil , catnip, sage and winter savory. Everyone helped out including making the bundles, tying them, and attaching some labels on the herbs to bring home to their families. It was a new sensory experience for many of the children smelling the unique ingredients and seeing how they’re grown. Many of them learnt that herbs aren’t only small plants, but they can also grow in large bushels!

         After a long day of activities the children headed back to school with a new appreciation of what organic, sustainable farming is all about!

2014-2015 Team Introduction

Our team is in full swing preparing for the upcoming Garden2Table season! We’re in the process of finalizing dates for our garden and kitchen visits. They’ll be run a little different this season with the garden and kitchen visits occurring on separate dates to avoid the crazy long days and keep the kids focused through shorter visits. We have some high goals set for this fall and are already starting to think about our outreach that will occur later in the winter. Unfortunately we won’t be participating in College Royale this year despite the success in previous years, we found we weren’t making enough of an impact on the kids, which is what we’re all about!
Here’s a little bit about our team this year with some fresh faces from Applied Human Nutrition, Hospitality and Tourism Management and even Marketing! We’ll be keeping everyone updated through the fall and winter on this blog and don’t forget to follow us on twitter @g2tableguelph !!

Hi, my name is Tiffany Schebesch and I’m a fourth year Applied Human Nutrition student. I’ll be the team coordinator for Garden2Table this year and can’t wait to get started! As a nutrition student I recognize the importance of promoting healthy, sustainable eating to our youth. I personally love trying to eat local, organic food in order to support our farmers and avoid pesticides…a win-win situation in my opinion! I’m excited to teach the kids what it means to be organic and get them as  enthusiastic as I am about fresh veggies. I’ve been involved in Garden2Table over the last few years as a volunteer and am thrilled to be organizing it this year with my amazing team!


Hello, I’m Rebecca and I am a fourth year Hotel and Food Administration Student.  I am really excited to be on the Garden2Table team this year because I love teaching people about food.  I think that it is important that everyone knows where their food comes from and this program does a really good job at it.  My job on the team this year along with Lindsay is to help organize the elementary school visits to our campus garden, cooking lab and apiary.  Over the past few years I have had lots of jobs working in food gardens and cooking in restaurants which ties right in to Garden2Table.  I can’t wait to share with everyone in Garden2Table everything I know about food!

Hi my name is Lindsay Leduc and I am a forth year Applied Human Nutrition student.  I am very passionate about food, nutrition, food security, and anything that involves food.  I think learning about nutrition and where food comes from is so important for children and I am very excited to be apart of a program that does this! I think we, in society, need to reconnect with where our food comes from and appreciate what our environment has to offer. Garden2Table is an awesome program because it allows the kids to get their hands dirty and learn about local foods.  I also love to cook, so I am excited to get into the kitchen with all of the kids We have a fantastic team of people behind this project so I am sure this year will be plenty of fun! See you in the garden!

Hello, my name is Steph Vesely and I'm in my fourth year of the Marketing Management program at guelph. This year I am one half of the outreach coordinator team for Garden2Table. I have spent the past four summers at a camp working with children through activities that promote sustainable living. I love everything and anything that has to do with appreciating nature, especially when it comes to food. I can't wait to reach out to youth in the community and I hope to leave a positive mark on local youth as well as farmers of the future! I can't wait for a fantastic year and look forward to meeting lots of people at garden and kitchen visits coming soon.

Hi everyone. My name is Rachael and I'm a fourth year Hotel and Food Administration Student. As a child I developed a passion for food by cooking and baking with my babysitter to pass the time. From this experience I've learned what an impact getting kids involved in making their own food from a young age can do. That is why I am so excited to be a part of the Garden2Table team this year. I'll be focusing on the outreach program with Stephanie and I cannot wait to spread my knowledge about and love of food into Guelph Schools and the Guelph community.