Thursday, July 21, 2011

Got Dirt? vs. Got a can opener?

Can you imagine … if you had only ever tasted commercially canned asparagus, would garlic risotto with roasted asparagus or zucchini and ricotta fritters with roasted garlic aioli sound at all tempting? I’m sure there are some home-canners out there who can do this vegetable justice. However, thinking about the vast differences in texture, color and flavor between fresh vs. canned for this one vegetable makes me realize how lucky I am to have been exposed to “garden fresh” since I was a little kid.

My name is Lisa Kay Peters, and I recently joined the staff at the UW Extension in Green Bay as the Marketing Coordinator for Got Dirt? Looking back, I’m so grateful that my grandmother and mom got me involved in flower and vegetable gardening. And Mom, you’ll be especially glad to hear this … I’m glad my parents made me try different veggies at dinner!

This program is so exciting! Although school gardens are "old school", having been in existence for over a century, we can’t forget that all the technology kids have access to today doesn’t trump or replace the powers of Mother Nature. Watching a seemingly lifeless seed sprout and grow into food is pretty awe-inspiring the first time for everyone. My friend, Molly, started her first small home garden last year. To watch a thirty-something get downright giddy over seeing seeds sprout and turn into carrots she plucked and ate – well, my reaction was to giggle and ask “Good grief, didn’t you grow a bean in a cup in school?”

Turns out, she hadn’t.

I’m very much looking forward to working with you to get the Got Dirt? training and support out to Wisconsin classrooms again this year. Let’s give kids as many healthy choices as we can, and put the power of creation in their hands. Right now we’re looking for Master Gardeners and others with horticultural experience to commit to hosting teacher training sessions in your area. Please contact me at or 920.391.4655 if you can help!

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