Throughout the past few years, the green movement has been building momentum in urban communities. One way many have embraced this trend is by planting and harvesting from personal gardens. With urban gardens springing up everywhere from alleyways to atop apartment complexes, one wonders who will be next to pick up these sustainable solutions.
Look no further than Heritage Christian Academy, where students have been planting and harvesting crops since its garden’s groundbreaking last spring. The garden, aptly named Seeds of Hope, offers a great way for students of all ages to get involved—from little ones getting their hands dirty with early lessons on ecology, to high school students working in the garden for AP environmental science.
The garden’s construction was made possible by STEM grant monies and the help of grade-school students who do the planting, cultivating and eventual harvesting. This fall, Seeds of Hope was put to use as a way for Heritage to give back to its community through contributing harvested foods to a local food shelf.
Even the school’s hot lunch caterers have gotten involved: In collaboration with Seeds of Hope, the catering team at Heritage has developed a number of recipes that incorporate crops grown right in Heritage’s own backyard.
Heritage Garden Harvest Soup
- 1 acorn squash, roasted
- 1 butternut squash, roasted
- 1 c. fresh tomatoes, diced, or 15 oz. can whole tomatoes
- ½ c. fresh cilantro
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ c. half-and-half
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 small can green chilies
- Yellow and orange peppers, diced small
- 1 can black beans
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. garlic salt
- Dash of cayenne pepper
Seed and peel roasted squash. Place in food processor along with tomatoes, onion, cilantro. Puree until somewhat smooth. Put squash mixture in kettle with broth, creamer and remaining ingredients. Cook on medium until well melded and thoroughly heated (about 20 minutes).