Kids Make Pesto at Juan Cabrillo

Our perennial basil plants at Juan Cabrillo have been ready for some time to be used for a delicious recipe. So to finish our first rotation of classes, I introduced a traditional Italian spread to the kids: pesto.

In their journals, they drew the four ingredients needed for this recipe: olive oil, Parmesean cheese, basil and garlic. Then Frank and I asked the students to help harvest the leaves of the basil plant for this recipe. They were instructed to pick only the leaves – not the stem or purple flowers. Each student picked 5 leaves. It was a perfect amount for a batch of pesto!

Afterwards, Frank and I assembled the ingredients in the small food processor and held it up for the kids to watch the ingredients spin into a puree. Lots of oo-s and aaah-s followed!

Of course we got a chance to taste this delicious spread … on saltine crackers! I told the kids they could also try it on toast or mix it with pasta.

Then we reviewed the ingredients once more so the kids who really enjoyed it could tell their parents about it!

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Hope Cox

Native to Tennessee, Hope fell in love with urban farming while majoring in Nutrition/Dietetics at UT Chattanooga. She volunteered at an urban farm there for two years and gleaned (pun intended!) bushels of knowledge about harvesting & planting, CSA box coordination, farmers market stands, school field trips, farm-to-table and more. When Hope moved to Los Angeles in late 2014, she began volunteering with EnrichLA and soon after became a Ranger. She loves sharing with her elementary students the hands-on experience of gardening, finding bugs, composting and eating from the garden. The expression of glee on the students' faces when they discover a new critter or favorite vegetable is the best part of Hope's day! One day, she hopes to be a real farmer in the country but for now is glad to be learning the ins-and-outs of inner-city farming.