Fill 'er up!

Gardening… vertically?

Kids. Dirt. Real Food. For us, it doesn’t get much more feel-good than that.

As excited as we are to bring awesome products onto the shelves of natural retailers across the nation, we like to connect directly with our community, too. With a passion for things that grow, bringing gardening to schools is right up our alley, where we’re growing seeds AND an educational opportunity.

We’ve teamed up with this fantastic company, WoollyPocket, who creates “living wall” planters, making gardening possible in any location. With a built-in irrigation system that keeps plants wet and happy without the need for labor-intensive maintenance, it’s perfectly manageable for a school setting.

On June 4th, 2015, we ventured to Windham NH, to spread our enthusiasm to a group of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders on the student council. With us was Lorrie O’Connor, Master Gardener from the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension. With our WoollyPocket vertical garden structure ready and waiting to be turned into a living wall, we broke out the dirt, and the kids set to filling those pockets with soil. Within a few hours, planting was underway. At harvest time, thanks to being pesticide-free and organic, the students will be able to pick and eat their crops straight out of their garden (which they think is SO cool!)

 

(See the gallery on Flickr here.)

We wanted to make sure these productive pupils kept their fuel tanks full with an awesome snack. Think we busted out the hoodsie cups and sheet cake? You know us better than that. :) Of course, we had something slightly different in store…

While half the group was up to their elbows in soil, the other half was “Smoothie Cycling.” That’s right, our snack was a nutrient-packed smoothie, blended by… a bike?! You got it. Our Fender Blender bike (made stationery for this event) is powered by pedaling. The gears attach to a mounting base for a blender canister.

In went the strawberries, mango, banana, Uncle Matt’s Orange Juice, and spinach; 100% certified organic ingredients, purchased locally at A Market Natural Foods. The kids pedaled their hearts out, a boisterous countdown ensuing as each batch approached the beverage state we sought. Everyone got to enjoy a delicious, nutritious treat, courtesy of human energy and a totally cool bike.

 

(See the gallery on Flickr here.)

Some of the quotes we overheard from the students were proof that our mission that day was a success:

 

“It’s kinda ugly-looking, but it tastes SO good!”

“Who knew that I’d love SPINACH in my smoothie!?”

“I can’t wait to tell my Mom what I did today.”

 

Every student (approximately 1100 of them!) departed school with a sweet little packet of pea seeds and a dehydrated soil cake to take home and plant in a… well, anywhere! The WoollyPocket garden really does prove that you don’t need a big plot to grow great food. We hope a few students will track the progress of their pea plant over the summer. (Hint, hint, kids- we’d love pictures!)

We want to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to  Principal Kathy Bates and the fantastic teachers on her team that made this whole thing possible.  Also, to our Gardening Guru, Lorrie, and especially to the kids, who could have planted a whole field given their level of enthusiasm. If anything, they were the ones that got us excited about growing (and knowing) one’s own food.