(Photo by Kristin Hess)
Beyond the Indiana Humanities Council-Herron High School garden, we also work in the Growing Places Slow Food Garden at White River State Park. The garden, 6,000-square-feet of pesticide-free produce, is used to train future urban farmers (including yours truly—well, maybe), to grow crops for sale to businesses and passerby, and to promote local food culture. Along with the necessary weeding and harvesting, we get to visit various food-related businesses, non-profits, and local legends in an effort to learn about the far-reaching effects of our food choices. In doing so, we have noticed our habits and ways of thinking changing steadily.
Once upon a time, we used to nap after our meals (yes, even those at school—Herron has a wonderful lawn for sleeping). This summer however, marks a new era. Now, following delicious local lunches, we bike. Take today for example, in which vegetarian chef Becky Hostetter prepared a scrumptious composition consisting of beet salad, greens and zucchini cheese sandwiches (with crusty, airy homemade bread) for Growing Places. Following such a delicious, decidedly local spread, she revealed her ice cream made from berries found throughout the neighborhood, nestled next to her pillowy lemon cake. Then, we mournfully left such a pleasant dining experience to hop on our bikes to come blog.
Despite being unbelievably delicious, the food carries even deeper significance for us, since Growing Places planted, weeded and harvested much of the vegetables we have been enjoying lately. To watch that journey from the soil to the table creates an enriching connection with the everyday act of eating, and with the earth itself. Because of this new-found sentiment, we have made our own attempts at cooking with local food. Last Friday brought about an unexpected appreciation for turnips, which we mashed with potatoes, carrots, oregano, rosemary, basil and parsley. We’ve also been munching on flavorful broccoli from the White River Garden (especially when it’s dipped in homemade hummus) and raspberries from Sara’s garden. Hopefully, this delectable trend will continue.