Shorewood Culinary Arts Garden

Shorewood High School Youth Education GardenThe name of this garden says it all: located at Shorewood High School in north King County, WA, the garden supplies produce to support the school’s culinary arts program. Diana Dillard, head of the program, incorporates the garden’s vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers into her cooking and nutrition classes.

The garden, affectionately known as SWCAG, is one of the Youth Education Gardens supported by the Master Gardeners. Through the Youth Education Gardens, Master Gardeners work with children and youth to introduce them to sustainable gardening practices and the fun of growing your own food.

Shorewood High School Youth Education Garden

Students in the year-long culinary arts program do more than just use the produce in their classes. They also get their hands dirty, working in the garden in shifts—sometimes only 15 minutes long—with the Master Gardeners. They weed, plant seeds, haul compost, and harvest.  The Master Gardeners like to point out what’s growing and it’s not unusual for a student to wonder at the sight of an heirloom orange or yellow tomato: “Is that one ripe?” The Master Gardeners also have the occasional opportunity to give a short presentation to the class that ties together the garden and what the students are preparing that day.

Shorewood High School Youth Education GardenThe Master Gardener group chooses what to grow each season and ensures there is a crop rotation plan in place.  This growing season (2010) included salad greens, kale, chard, broccoli, onions, carrots, leeks, radishes and beets. The students harvested annual and perennial herbs like basil, parsley, lovage, and dill, as well as the well-established rhubarb. Produce not needed by the culinary program is donated to the local food bank. Flowers grow right alongside the vegetables and herbs, providing table decorations for special events.  A core group of about 10 MGs plans, tends, and waters the garden year-round, meeting twice a month at the garden.

The garden has its roots in 2007; the original garden provided herbs to the culinary program. Set in an alcove between two buildings, the herb garden didn’t get much sun. Over the past three years, the garden has expanded to include trellises for tomatoes, raised beds, and a nascent wildlife habitat area.

The SWCAG group has ambitious plans to expand the garden to include seating areas and arbors. The MGs also plan to develop the wildlife area at the entrance to the garden to connect with other wildlife habitat in cities north and south of Shoreline, making a “flyway” for the region’s birds. Generous donations of in-kind materials and funds have enabled the expansion; the success of the recent Harvest Dinner reflects the commitment of the MGs and community to the garden and the school.  The Culinary Arts Garden is located on the west side of the high school in Shoreline on  Fremont Avenue North at 173rd Street.  For information, please contact Linda Holman at lhholman@comcast.net.




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