The idea was born a few weeks ago. A group of 10 Lincoln High School peace garden students enjoyed their first lettuce harvest. They tried two salad recipes: a simple “Lemon Dressing Salad” and a “Candied Walnut and Apple Salad”. The apple walnut salad was a hit. It was so convincing that 12th grade student Wendy said “Man, this is good. I think the whole school would love this!” It was quickly decided: we would share the lettuce from our school garden with the general student population at lunch time.
This morning students made it happen. They harvested lettuce, diced apples, and made candied walnuts by lightly toasting the walnuts and adding maple syrup. Marlene was the salad dressing chef. She didn’t even bother to use measurements. She carefully mixed the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and orange juice (fresh from the school’s orange tree) to make a custom and perfectly balanced dressing.
Students rushed to get ready before the lunch bell rang. They prepared the lunch table with signs exhibiting “Salad Ingredients” the “Eat Well Plate” and announcements “La Verdura Cura” (vegetables cure) “Veggies Need Love Too” and “Free Salad!” They tossed together the ingredients and within moments it was lunchtime and students were running out of their classrooms. Lincoln students quickly and excitedly lined up to get their free salad. Brando, Wendy, Fannie, Miztica, Marlene and Maria, the morning’s core volunteers, were busy serving plates and sharing information about our school garden. “They’re saying it’s really good!” Miztica whispered. The salad was an especially good addition to the school lunch which was mostly chicken drumsticks a la carte. A student in line said, “You guys grew this? This is from our school? Now that’s cool.” A total of 50 students enjoyed the locally grown salad.
Good job everyone! And a special thank you to service learning volunteers Maria and Joel from Cal State Fullerton’s “Barrios and Health Class”.