a journal of our edible education

Archive for April, 2012


The garden at Orlando Junior Academy would not be possible without many generous contributors.  Most great things are accomplished through cooperative effort and our garden is no exception.  Two contributors have recently helped to add a new item to our palette:  asparagus.  It’s possible that we are tempting the elements.  Many see Florida as being too far south for a good asparagus crop, but hey, if you’re not going to be a gambler why are you gardening.  Our first contributor to the “asparagus experiment” is Heather Tribou.  She has given us the actual seedlings to get us going.  Heather loves asparagus and has a heart for children and gardening.  She’s excited that her two pre-k’ers are watching food grow right outside their classroom.  Our second contributor lives nearby and though she has no students attending OJA she also has a heart for children.  Ginger works and resides at “Freedom Ride” an amazing facility that lets children with difficult challenges ride and interact with horses.  Ginger’s gift to the “asparagus experiment” was close to her heart (well actually a bit closer to her stomach).  Fertile soil is fundamental to robust asparagus, so her gift will give us the best possible chance of success.  A healthy garden has a variety of needs that are best met by a diversity of contributors.  Thanks Ladies!

Ginger from Freedom ride

Because of her genteel nature Ginger demurred when asked about the specifics of her gift.

Students Planting Asparagus

See more about Freedom Ride here.


And They’re Off!

Like most pumpkins, this “Musque de Provence” variety is notoriously vigorous.Take one pumpkin seedling, add fertile soil, lots of water, sunshine and STAND BACK.  Watch for updates while our plants run rampant.Pumpkins, start your engines!


How much is something worth?  That is an important question we face everyday.  Most students are very familiar with cost.  Nearly everyone of them at some point has counted their money and compared it to the price tag attached to that wanted thing, hoping  there is enough, and wondering…. “Is it worth it?”.  We begin to learn from the moment that first coin jangles into the piggy bank that we are consumers.  Over time we learn to perfect the art of consumption, looking for the best deals on the things we want, comparing brands to find the best quality and choosing the retailers that provide us with the best service. Being skilled at the “hunter/gatherer” thing serves us well.  Though smart shopping is obviously important, it only represents one side of the transaction.  Hopefully our students will grow up to do more than just consume.


This brings us to our market cart.  It’s no coincidence that fruits and vegetables are called “produce”.    Handmade and donated by parent Harry Armstrong with help from seamstress Cindee Jones, this cart provides our students with experience on the other side of the cash register.  Suddenly “what is it worth?” takes on a new perspective.  These students are not just retailing.  They are not just marking up some other persons product to make a profit.  No, items offered on this cart to parents in the pick-up line come from their garden.  They know what it took for those seedlings and greens to make it to the cart.  They know how much time and effort it takes to pick the best and make that product look appealing.  The experience of producing something of value and setting its price can be an important lesson in life.  Everyone should consider the value of their own work and these students are doing just that.

Plant what people like.  Nurture and care for it while it grows.  Pick the best.  Set a fair price.  Sell it.  Be a producer!