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North Students Go Garden to Cafeteria

Much of the food picked Thursday was washed and served fresh on the veggie bar in the cafeteria. Other plants, such as rosemary, basil and other herbs, will eventually be used in sauces and other dishes in the school’s kitchen.

AURORA | With a basket full of freshly-picked celebrity tomatoes in the crook of her arm, North Middle School eighth-grader Angela Serwaa-Marfo noted one of gardening’s greatest and grimiest perks.

“I like to touch the dirt,” she said as she harvested food from the school’s garden Thursday morning, Aug. 20.

Students and staff first planted the garden on the northwest corner of the school’s campus four years ago. Thursday marked the first time the fruits and veggies there were harvested and served in the school’s cafeteria.

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Loretta Erickson, a teacher at North and the garden liaison, said the 26-plot garden is a chance for not only students to plant food and learn about organic gardening, but also a place for people in the surrounding community to plant food as well.

That support from neighbors is especially crucial in the summer months when school is out and fewer students in the North Garden Club are around.

“It’s a community effort to keep it rolling all summer long,” she said.

Much of the food picked Thursday was washed and served fresh on the veggie bar in the cafeteria. Other plants, such as rosemary, basil and other herbs, will eventually be used in sauces and other dishes in the school’s kitchen.

20150820-Garden-Aurora , Colorado

Erickson said other food from the garden will be sold at the school’s farmers market. The market, which is open to the public and accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will be open every Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. starting Sept. 4 and continuing until the end of October.

Elizabeth Herndon, North’s kitchen manager, said she was hoping for between three and five pounds of food from Thursday’s harvest. Because the cafeteria cooks dishes such as roasted chicken and spaghetti largely from scratch, Herndon said the herbs and other items from the garden will be a big help.

“But more importantly, it’s about having the kids involved and them seeing where their food came from,” she said.

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