By Allison Collins
SIDNEY – Sidney Elementary students in grades one through six treated family, friends and member so the community, school board and Hill and Valley Garden Club to farm-fresh produce during the Sidney Green Thumb Guild’s second annual Evening in the Garden, held Tuesday, Sept. 12. The event showcased the produce planted and harvested by the students between last spring and now.
Much of the produce, said Sidney Central School District superintended William Christensen, is used in the school’s cafeteria. More still is sold at the school’s mini-farmers’ market, offered weekly during Thursday afternoon pick-up.
The Green Thumb Guild’s efforts are all part of Sidney’s Farm to Table program, begun several years ago as a way to cultivate healthier eating and growing habits among young students in particular, said Christensen.
Beyond selling and serving their harvests, students also get to help prepare dishes using the fresh-picked ingredients during frequent cafeteria tastings, explained Christensen. He added, “The food services staff oversees it and the kids learn how to handle the food safely and prepare it.”
Since its inception, Sidney teacher and hobbyist gardener Joshua Gray has directed the Sidney Green Thumb Guild. In a statement, Gray explained, “The Sidney Farm to Table program offers students a lot of different ways to learn about and work with food – from composting and growing to aquaponics and cooking.” Gray noted Tuesday night that he plans to advance the program this year through offering a yearlong horticulture program.
In between serving up garden-fresh samples, leading garden tours, manning the farmers’ market and discussing seed storage at the smell-and-tell station, the young members of the guild affirmed their own appreciation of the after-school club.
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