This spring HFHK welcomed our new Children’s Garden Educator & Program Coordinator, Jen Cipolla to our staff. Jen will be leading student field trips in the teaching garden at Penn Historic Farm as well as assisting with our Education Cultivation school vegetable garden program. Prior to joining HFHK, Jen worked as a chemical engineer and a swim instructor for the YMCA. A mom of sixteen years, Jen loves working with kids. In her spare time, she enjoys caring for her vegetable garden at home and volunteering for nonprofit organizations. Jen is excited to learn more about agriculture and brings positive energy and enthusiasm to her instruction. We are thrilled to have her as part of our team and hope you will welcome her as she gets to know our many wonderful school partners.
We spread our message that vegetables are delicious, an important part of a healthy lifestyle and easy to grow at this year’s Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival organized by the Franklin Institute. The Science Festival is an annual, week-long celebration of science education and outreach which culminates in the Science Carnival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway held in early May. HFHK was invited by FMC Ag Solutions, the Festival Presenting Sponsor for 2019, to plan and staff one of their six booths which all focused on the role that Ag Science plays in every day life.
Can you guess the mystery veggie?
HFHK’s booth consisted of a produce stand stocked with fresh vegetables that most people are familiar with like lettuce, carrots, and broccoli, and some not-so common vegetables like broccoli rabe and leeks for our Veggie IQ game. Volunteers challenged festival goers to name all the vegetables in the produce stand. If they got everything correct, we brought out the bonus vegetable which stumped everyone. (See the picture below and see if you can name it. Hint: it’s bigger than a turnip.)
Activities for All!
Volunteers also helped festival goers make seedling pots out of recycled newspaper and gave away seeds of our quick growing, cool season vegetables like arugula, spinach and lettuce that are the mainstay of our school gardens. The booth was a huge hit with festival goers; seasoned gardeners were asking HFHK volunteers for gardening advice and swapping gardening stories and new gardeners were excited by the idea that they could grow vegetables on their windowsill or patio at home. HFHK would like to thank FMC Ag Solutions for the invitation to participate in an amazing day, help to produce the lettuce, arugula and other crops that we used to demonstrate the way our HFHK school gardens work, and building the produce stand and other logistics. We would also like to thank the University of Delaware Departments of Nutrition and Dietetics and Plant and Soil Sciences for providing additional volunteers to staff the booth.
What is there to look forward to in the dog days of summer? Tomatoes, beans, and peas, oh my! Nativity Preparatory Academy a tuition free private boys middle school and Serviam Girls Academy, its sister school, decided to continue the growing season over the summer.
While most HFHK school gardens are typically cleaned and covered for the summer, both schools have an extended academic year, providing a great opportunity for continued growth. At both schools, tomatoes were a classic, yet popular pick! Serviam also featured peas along with complementary plants such as nasturtiums and sunflowers to top it off. Nativity Prep planted beans, and garlic with ornamentals adding to the beauty of the garden.
Many thanks to garden coordinators James Ferguson from Nativity Prep and Katie LeCocq for their dedication to the garden! We are glad students will have the opportunity to taste these delicious summer veggies!