“In the end, there is really nothing more important than taking care of the earth and letting it take care of you.” Charles Scott
Kitchen Manager, Ronda Combs, shares why Harvest Lunch is worth the extra work.
Harvest Lunch Day is a celebration of student effort in their garden lessons and their work in planting and caring for the gardens. Students get to enjoy the produce from their gardens served in the cafeteria on the salad bar and oven-roasted. She and her staff go out of their way to prepare and serve fresh produce from the gardens.
We routinely harvest and deliver easy-to-prep produce like cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Students do their major harvest in mid-September. The following Friday is Harvest Lunch Day. Volunteers help sort the produce that has been pre-cleaned by the students. Some is designated for the cafeteria, and the surplus is donated to a local food bank or made available in the lobby of the school (depending on the school).
It is a challenge to get the produce from the gardens and into the cafeteria in a form they can use and in a timely fashion. Though the cafeteria staff is very willing to work with us, they are understaffed and faced with the responsibility of preparing lunch each day for more than 1,500 students. To help make the Harvest Lunch possible, Granny’s recruits volunteers to help clean and prep the produce for the cooks. In years past, they made vegetable soup. The last couple of years, they switch to roasted vegetables. The kids love it.
Harvest Lunch Day is a sharing of the bounty of the different gardens. Imagine all three school cafeterias with colorful tablecloths and floral bouquets on the tables. That’s the scene we set for the Harvest Lunch. The soup is free of charge to all students, staff and guests.