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The Aviator

December 4, 2016

In November, Alta Vista students came together to dedicate a brand new Community Seed Library at the Portola Library! Alta Vista’s second graders (now in third grade) originally built this seed library, last year with our former garden educator Miss Marissa. (She is currently studying natural building and permaculture landscape design in Costa Rica). AVS students wrote letters to local seed companies for donations and helped design, build, and decorate the seed library. The seed library is split into different plant types, such as legumes, greens, and fruiting vegetables. There is an informational booklet designed by students and even empty seed packets to return the plant seeds that are grown and harvested.

A seed library is a collection of seeds, sorted and catalogued that you can take from and plant in your own garden. The idea is to encourage growing and saving a genetically diverse stock of flower and vegetable seed, some heirloom and some adapted to your neighborhood micro-climate...

June 13, 2016

The Second grade classes have collaborated with the Portola Branch Library to design and build a community seed library for the neighborhood. A Seed Library follows the model of a book library. People can borrow seeds from a seed library, plant them, enjoy the food, and let some of the plants go to maturity. Seed borrowers harvest seed from mature plants to replenish the seed library so other people can borrow seeds.

The first seed library, BASIL, was birthed in Berkeley in 1999 and a few years later in 2003, the second seed library was created in New York at a public library. The seed library movement began as a response to promote seed diversity and food security in a time when these things are disappearing. Only 4% of the commercial vegetable varieties being grown in 1903 are still in cultivation today.  Due to

multinational agribusiness corporations like Monsanto and DuPont, the vast majority of fields are growing genetically modified corn, canola, cotton and soy....

February 13, 2016

We’re excited to share that our first AVS Middle School Garden Cooking classes were a huge success! Students learned how to plan, prepare, and create a healthy and delicious meal from scratch. For their final assignment, students were required to cook an entire meal for their families. Each of our student’s recipes will be compiled into our first AVS Community Cookbook, which will be shared school-wide by Spring 2016.  Here are a couple samples from our recipe book from Noah S. (5th grade) and Isabelle L. (6th grade). Bon appétit!

Noah’s Spring Rolls

Ingredients: (Everything should be organic.)

  • 8 Rice wrappers

  • Lettuce

  • Cucumbers

  • Shredded carrots

  • Ice berg salad

Peanut Sauce (optional)

  • One garlic clove

  • ½ cup peanut butter

  • 2 tablespoons Soy sauce

  • Water (If needed)

  • 1 and a half pieces of Ginger (peeled)

  • ¼ or 12teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


Spring rolls


February 12, 2016

Alta Vista students are jumping with excitement, because the bright red flowers of our pineapple sage are in bloom!  Children love to have these flowers as a garden snack, because they have sweet nectar that delight their taste buds.

We have two pineapple sage plants in the garden that are both two years old.  Zach R. planted one and Lucy K-T took a cutting of it, propagated it, and planted the other. Both plants are doing very well in the garden and are at least six feet tall.

Pineapple sage has brought us a lot of joy in our garden for many reasons.  The leaves and flowers are edible, it attracts pollinators, and it is beautiful.  In class, we have steeped the leaves to make fresh tea.  Not only do students enjoy the nectar of the flowers, but also many hummingbirds have been spotted poking their long beaks into the flowers.

If you are interested in harvesting leaves for tea or would like to grow a pineapple sage at home, please get in touch with Marissa or Brennan. We are hap...

October 30, 2015

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are bright orange and yellow, and the plants are covered with dew in the mornings. The Fall season is here. Alta Vista School students have direct seeded and transplanted one of our favorite legumes of the season, the Fava Bean. Fava beans (Vicia faba) have edible beans and leaves and are very beneficial to the garden and to us. They are a great cover crop, germinate quickly, thrive in cold weather, tolerate shade, and are a delicious treat. Fava beans are a great cover crop because they capture nitrogen from the air and fix it in the soil, regenerating microbial soil life and nutrients for the following season. We are waiting patiently as our fava beans grow and we are excited for the garden to turn into a fava bean forest. Fava beans can reach seven feet tall! Gather some leaves and add them to your salad or harvest some beans and enjoy shucking them with your children. Beans are edible and delicious raw or cooked in a stir-fry.

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