Written by Milena Castillo-Grynberg, Food Systems Educator

If there is a specific month in the year for feasting, it is December. This past month, Food Explorers learned about the important step of Consumption in our Food System, reflecting on the impact of what and how we eat on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Students took time to connect with their favorite meal, recalling significant memories, feelings, and other associated descriptors. To better understand concepts of nutrition, Food Explorers looked to their very own garden beds to find the rainbows hiding within them: green peas, red chard, purple radishes, and so much more! Students continue to cheer on the large greens, which they have lovingly nicknamed “giga-chard.” The greens seem encouraged, growing to new, record-breaking size each week.

Portola students working in their garden beds. (December 2023. Photo taken by EGC Food Systems Educator, Milena).

On the December 16th workday, Portola’s tremendous community spirit shone through once more as forty-five eager volunteers showed up and dedicated a good part of their Saturday to hauling and spreading compost, harvesting produce, and freeing saplings from encroaching weeds. Thanks to their efforts, ~150 lbs of fresh produce was donated to Samaritan House, who expressed their gratitude and great admiration for this project! Also at the workday, student volunteers rejoiced at finding new mushrooms, rolly-pollys, and a majestic brown salamander. Portola workdays fall on the third Saturday of every month; If you are interested in joining, you can sign-up here!

Portola greens harvested and donated to Samaritan House. (December 2023. Photo taken by EGC Food Systems Educator, Milena).


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