Education, nutrition brought outdoors
From beans to blueberries and corn to cabbage, children now have the opportunity to try their hand at growing and preparing their own food at the Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito Barbara Harper Branch in Solana Beach.
The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle features a demonstration garden with fruits, vegetables, lettuces and flowers, along with a new kitchen in what used to be the club's thrift store.
The garden is the final phase of the branch remodel, which features a gym and pool. Now, along with encouraging children to be active, the club can show them how to eat better.
"Hopefully, if they grow it themselves then it starts to taste better," said Barbara Harper, the board member for whom the branch is named.
The Center for a Healthy Lifestyle's grand opening was held on April 22--Earth Day.
Helping Harper cut the ribbon were primary donor Pam Wygod, the center's director Katie Pelisek, artist Betsy Schultz, who created the tiles nestled between the entry steps, Jack Burger of Burger Construction and Keith Padget, the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito.
"I want this to be a beautiful garden where kids want to be outside," Pelisek said. "I want to not just feed their bodies, but feed their soul."
Once the garden is productive, the newfound farmers will be able to sell their products in a miniature farmer's market, as well as take cooking classes to learn how to make healthier after-school snacks.
"I'm excited for the cooking because I don't really know how to cook and I like to cook a lot," fourth grader Savannah Castellanos said.
Pelisek anticipates holding lectures and cooking demonstrations for adults at the center as well.