For the third year in a row, we partnered with our neighbors at Creative Action for some summer camp fun. During two weeks in June, we co-hosted summer camp for kids ages 5-9. Campers made seed-to-plate connections and experimented with new vegetables and new recipes.
Summer Fun with SFC and Creative Action
Molly Costigan, The Happy Kitchen Program Manager
The theme of the first week was Creative Café, so campers were trained to be chefs. During their time with SFC, they learned about ingredient procurement and planning meals around the produce coming from the garden.
With our Farm Direct and Grow Local teams, campers harvested fresh vegetables and set up their own farm stands. Campers bought and sold produce from one another, and made a plan for how to use the produce in healthy recipes. They also played a food system game to reflect on the difference between a conventional food system and a local food system. On Friday, we heard from Raymundo Rios of Tortilleria Doña Toña who shared about his experience as a farmers’ market vendor and chef assistant.
In the kitchen, chef training included knife skills, sampling different herbs and spices, and following a few practice recipes before campers were challenged to develop their own menus. Recipes included stuffed tomatoes, pasta salad with vegetables, yogurt dip with fresh fruit, and homemade pizza.
The theme of the second week of camp was Urban Gardener. Campers kept a garden journal and learned about the whole gardening process. We led activities to help campers make the connection from soil to seed, we played with worms in the garden, and we studied the parts of a plant and the importance of seeds. Campers planted and took home their own herbs so that they can be urban gardeners, too.
In the kitchen, we focused on how to cook from the garden, including ways to change the flavors on one primary ingredient to create very different dishes: tomato gazpacho, tomato sauce, and tomato salsa. We also experimented with some garden produce that might be unique to some campers, including tomatillos and eggplant.
Campers were able to learn bee facts and try fresh honey with local beekeeper Brandon Fehrenkamp of Austin Bees, and they also learned about compost in a fun, dynamic way with Juniper Renee from Joe’s Organics.
We knew we were onto something good when we had second and third graders asking for seconds on eggplant dip and baked zucchini, and we look forward to working with Creative Action again in future summers!