easy steps to create a pollinator garden

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in agriculture, gardens, healthy food, pollinators | 0 comments

unnamed (2)The Churchill garden is a buzz!

Did you know that pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat everyday?

There are 430 different bee species in New York State alone, but sadly they are in trouble due to pesticides and losses in nesting habitats. Many colonies are lost to colony collapse disorder a problem whose cause is not fully understood.

Through our pollinator workshop, the students at the Churchill School & Center did their part to protect their native city dwelling bees. As pictured, their flower pots show that you don’t need a lot of space to start a pollinator garden. Here’s how they did it:

Step One: Go native with your flowers. Plant flowers that are pesticide free and local to the area. Good plants for pollinators include: aromatic herbs, colorful nectar rich flowers, and wild grasses. The students planted spearmint, violet luscious grape, blue supertunia bordeaux, orange luscious citrus blend, and local Sunset Park wheatgrass by Union Square Grassman. Bees are particularly drawn to blue flowers. The Churchill students being as pollinator inclusive as they are, also planted orange luscious citrus blend to attract red loving hummingbirds and butterflies. The orange luscious citrus blend has quickly become a yard favorite because of its amazing citrusy nectar scent.

unnamed (3)Step Two: Add water to the mix. Bees use mud to build their homes. Butterflies sip at shallow pools, mud puddles, and birdbaths. Here the students created “landing pads” by digging shallow holes outlined by a few stones. Butterflies especially love lighter colored stones. We have spotted quite a few perching themselves on the stones to cool off these past hot summer days.

Step Three: Materials for home improvement. Create small piles of twigs and brush. Bees and birds will use these materials to build their nests.

Follow these steps, and like the garden at Churchill, and you will have a beautiful garden that delights your senses and supports our garden helpers, the pollinators.

This post was written by Gisselle Madariaga, Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp Assistant Camp Director 

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summer camp early bird special!

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in cooking with kids, families, gardens, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, raising children, summer camp, sustainability | 0 comments

Early Bird Camp Special Ends Tuesday, March 15th

IMG_2363Sign up for our Food & Garden Summer Camp before the early bird flies away!

As spring approaches each year, our camp team becomes increasingly excited since after spring comes summer, and with summer comes the opportunity for us to play, dig, cook, explore and grow at Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp!

Technically, our camp is for children ages 5-11, but it’s impossible for our team to not have fun as they take our campers on amazing adventures through the food landscape of a city as densely diverse and exciting as NYC.

We love the laughter and joy that comes with handing a child his or her first worm and teaching them the important role worms play in creating the compost we’ll use in our garden. We also can’t resist the thoughtfully crafted dishes made by expert food artisans who are dedicated to making our city healthier and better by sourcing ingredients locally and sustainably. And how can we not mention the time spent foraging in the parks for wild edibles?11539620_919843904741212_3458107264933377832_n

This is what our camp is all about, and these are just a few of the experiences we begin to eagerly anticipate as winter turns to spring.

We work diligently throughout preceding months to curate a summer experience that keeps your child/ren thoroughly engaged!

And while our field trips and workshops are meant to be a ton of fun, they are also hugely educational! Our campers don’t realize how much they’re improving their math, science, communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, but their parents do!

Join us for summer 2016 and give your child/ren the opportunity to play, dig, cook, explore and grow at camp.
If you sign up before Tuesday, March 15th you’ll receive 10% off camp tuition! This discount can be combined with our sibling discount as well as returning camp discount! Depending on your situation, you could save up to 15% on camp tuition.

There’s no reason not to sign up now! Summer is coming and it’s sure to be an amazing one for all at Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp!

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Spotlight On Brussels Sprouts

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in agriculture, cooking with kids, fall recipes, families, Food for thought, gardens, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

As the fall harvest season winds down, we have a feature on Brussels Sprouts, a late season vegetable that can still be found fresh and delicious into November.

Brussels Sprouts have long been popular in the city of Brussels, Belgium, where it’s presumed their name originates from. Most American Brussels Sprouts arbrusselse grown along the central coast of California, but locally, Long Island is also considered to have one of the best climates for growing the vegetable. About 27,000 tons of Brussels Sprouts are grown each year in the United States.

In addition to being fresh and tasty in the late fall season, Brussels Sprouts are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are high in both Vitamin C and Vitamin K, which helps prevent Alzheimer’s,  and are considered to have anti-cancer nutritional properties. Brussels Sprouts are also a great source of antioxidants.

Still not sold? Check out this recipe for a delicious Brussels Sprout, Apple, and Melted Brie Sandwich created by our Director of Community and Nutrition. For the full blog post of the recipe, including, cooking instructions, click here.

Ingredients:

  • English muffin (or baguette, sliced bread, gluten free bread)
  • 3-4 thin slices of brie
  • 2-3 thin slices of apple
  • small handful of brussels sprouts
  • dollop of mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
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DIY earth-friendly recipe for sowing seeds

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in families, Food for thought, gardens, healthy lifestyle, home remedies, local food, summer camp, Thanksgiving, cranberries, recipes, wellness | 0 comments

During each camp session at Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp, our budding chefs & gardeners bring in repurposed planters that would otherwise end up in the recycling bin or landfill. Campers fill their makeshift pots with soil, sow a seed with care, and water gently. They care for their plant throughout camp, lighting up with excitement when the first sprout peeks above the soil.

At the end of the camp session, the kids head home with their new plants to continue their gardening duties. Those campers who join us for multiple sessions teach new campers the art of planting, and are always thrilled to create another earth-friendly planter.

One of our campers (and future celebrity chef) Aidan was with us for five weeks of Food & Garden Summer Camp 2015 and became an expert in sowing seeds. This morning he asked mom to send us an update on his windowsill garden and boy, were we excited to open that e-mail! Check out this creative garden. Shout out to camper Aidan on his green thumb!

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As our campers have shown us, you can grow a garden wherever you are, no matter the time of year, with a little bit of creativity and a lot of heart. Read on and get growing.

DIY earth-friendly recipe for sowing seeds:

  • 1 recycled container
  • Soil/compost mix
  • 2 seeds
  • Water
  • Sunshine
  • Love & Care

Directions: Cut your recycled container (e.g. milk carton or plastic bottle) in half. Add enough soil/compost mix to fill the container. Dig a small well with your thumb in the soil, then add 2 seeds.* Cover the seeds lightly with soil. Water, and place the pot in a sunny spot and watch your seeds grow!

*If both seeds sprout, remove one so that the other can grow big and strong. If you remove it carefully, you can try replanting it in another container. Leftover egg cartons are also great for sprouting seeds.

Written by Kelly McGlinchey, Director of Food Education

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One Summer Morning at Stone Barns Farm Camp

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in agriculture, cooking with kids, Food & Farm program, gardens, healthy food, healthy lifestyle, local food, summer camp, sustainability, wellness | 0 comments

Sitting among the soft rolling hills of Tarrytown, New York, resides Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture – the rural outpost of Dan Barber’s Blue Hill restaurant and the nonprofit educational farm where some 450 students spend part of their summer here each year. Now in its eleventh season, Stone Barns Farm Camp offers kids in grades first through eighth the opportunity to explore the food that fuels them on farm-to-table adventures and interactive activities in food and agriculture.

 

The camp’s aim to inspire future food leaders resonates with us here at Butter Beans. At Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp we are continually seeking innovative examples of food education, and opportunities to share best practicesIMG_2953 in the field. With this vision in mind, and inspired by the Farm Camp’s online brochure, I reached out to Stone Barns to arrange a visit to camp. A few e-mail exchanges and some minor schedule changes later, and I was on my way up I-87 headed north, out of the bustling traffic of New York City to Tarrytown. I pulled into the gravel driveway that led up to the Stone Barns Center at 8:45 AM. Though only an hour’s drive north of midtown Manhattan, the tranquil, misty fields lining either side of the drive painted a bucolic scene, evoking images of a simpler time when the pace of life ebbed in rhythm with the rising sun and changing winds.

 

A bit further up the drive, the scene before me told a more nuanced story of this verdant setting. As I walked to the Center’s entrance, two school buses pulled up to the sidewalk, opened their doors, and out piled two dozen city kids, unabashed smiles and visible excitement adorning their faces on today – their first day of camp. The day of my visit was the first Monday of the final session of Farm Camp 2015, and both new and returning campers filed into the main hall to decorate their farm journals in preparation for the day ahead.

 

Walking among the tables of Sprouts, Growers, Farmers, and Foragers (apt names for the various age groups), I listened in as the counselors drummed up excitement for the day’s activities and fielded the numerous questions of curious campers. The groups gathered in the Center’s stone courtyard for an official welcome to camp and then set out for farm adventures.

 

I followed Camp Director Jason Hult to address the first item on the agenda for the Sprouts – turkey herding. Most of us are familiar with the relationship of shepherd and sheep, but as the campers and I learned that morning herding is an equally important task for turkeys given their lifestyle at Stone Barns.

 

One of the farm’s operating principles is happy animals. As Dan Barber illuminates in his book The Third Plate, animals that are cared for and respected during their life in turn produce a superior meal, both in terms of nutrition and flavor. For Stone Barns, part of this means that the turkeys are moved between their indoor and outdoor homes during the day, and given plenty of space to move about.

 

After an engaging explanation and demonstration from Jason (in which Jason and I played the turkeys for the kids to practice their herding skills), we set off down the patIMG_2942h to the turkey house and met one of the farm apprentices to shepherd the turkeys to their outside paddock. Some of the campers had trepidations as we started down the dirt path with the flock – a justifiable feeling given that some of the campers were not much taller than these confident heritage turkeys. But with the guidance and encouragement of the camp counselors, the campers gracefully saw to it that each turkey made it to its outdoor home.

 

Throughout the morning as I listened to the exchanges between campers and counselors over garden beds and grassy pastures, I was reminded of the unique community that grows from a shared excitement for food. Whether you’re sowing seeds or herding turkeys, it’s hard not to get excited. Every way you approach it, food is an opportunity for engagement. It is the universal language that binds us, regardless of age, ethnicity, or professional pursuit.

 

The students who come through Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp and Stone Barns Farm Camp give us hope for what the future of food holds when we empower youth with the tools to grow, cook, and pause to consider the food on their plate. As a farmer sows seeds in the soil and awaits that first flush of green to burst forth from the ground, so too does an educator sow the seeds of innovation that will grow a mindful community of global food citizens.

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Special thanks to our friends at Stone Barns for their gracious hospitality and abundant energy!

Written by Kelly McGlinchey, Director of Food Education

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campfire stories: growing the magic of summer

Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 in agriculture, cooking classes, cooking with kids, families, Food & Farm program, Food for thought, food waste, gardens, healthy food, seasonal celebrations, summer camp, sustainability, wellness | 0 comments

Today Butter Beans Food & Garden summer campers celebrate the final day of camp for the 2015 season.

In the eight weeks since our summer camp began, nearly 100 students have come through the Food & Garden camp program – pickling, planting, foraging, cooking, sharing, and growing together through a hands-on experience where the rooftop farms, community gardens, farmers markets and restaurants of New York City provide the classroom.

This is always a bittersweet day for our team of food educators. For campers and counselors alike, saying good-bye can be difficult after so many adventures together exploring the food landscape of the Big Apple. But we do so knowing this parting is really more of a “see you soon.”

The children who graduate today as Food & Garden Experts – and all those students who have come through our summer programs in the past two months – will continue to explore, innovate, inspire, and share in growing the good food movement.

These campers are future business leaders, professors, politicians, lawyers, policy makers, social workers, teachers, and consumers. And, if at ages 6-10 they are celebrating seasonal food, helping the health of our ecosystems, and connecting with their local food communities… well, it seems that our future is in good hands!

Though Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp 2015 is at an end, the magic does not stop here!

This is only the beginning of the adventures that await our campers, and we can’t wait to see where their adventures lead them.

Check out how you can continue the magic of Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp at home with our 5 Ways to Grow Future Food Leaders.

As we do each day at camp, we’d like to thank the chefs, farmers, food innovators, gardeners, parents, families, and educators who bring our Food & Garden Summer Camp to life each year. And, above all, we say THANK YOU to the campers who motivate us each and every day to do better, think bigger, and laugh more.

You are an inspiration!

We’ll see you in the kitchen and garden next summer. Until then, happy cooking and bon appétit!

Written by Kelly McGlinchey, Director of Food Education

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