Last weekend in La Honda, the community stepped out in style for the Education Foundation’s Harvest Dinner and Fundraiser at La Cuesta Gardens.
Parents, teachers, and friends of the school enjoyed live music and a full menu of gourmet food, crafted by Café Cuesta chef Malcom Urquhart. The meal incorporated delicious donations from local farms, including Echo Valley Farm, Left Coast Grass Fed Beef, Fly Girl Farm, Blue House Farm, and the La Honda Elementary School Garden.
The La Honda Education Foundation supports enrichment programs at the elementary school such as garden science, Art-in-Action, drama, P.E., pre-school music, and assemblies and field trips.
Saturday’s event showcased the educational garden, which students and teachers visit at least once a week. In the afternoon, garden instructor Julie Grinvalsky greeted guests and encouraged them to enjoy appetizers while following a self-guided tour of the beds and educational areas throughout the garden.
Each spot had a sign explaining how it was used in class. Students learn about indigenous American agriculture at the three sisters bed, local commerce at the market bed, and soil health at the compost bins and worm world. There were also signs explaining how additional funding could help. A donation of $1,000 for example, could construct a covered area so outdoor classes could continue even during the winter rains.
Aspen Kopley, age 9, was hanging out for the afternoon with her family. She is in 4th grade and sometimes goes to the garden during recess, as well as each time her class visits. She explained that her class is works on a different page in their garden notebooks each week. Last time they got to do leaf rubbings and choose “any 5 plants in the whole garden.” Her favorite days though, are when Teacher Julie says it’s a harvest time. The students pick fruits and vegetables for an after school market in the parking lot, and the La Honda farmers market every other Tuesday.
Principal Kristen Lindstrom explained that in the garden, “kids don’t realize it but they are learning California state science, math and social studies standards.”
Lindstrom and Grinvalsky addressed the crowd of over 100 after dinner, and heartfully thanked them for their attendance and support. Grinvalsky explained that while some children cannot sit still at a desk, they can “spend hours with a chicken in their lap, making quiet observations.” Lindstrom was proud that one of the rewards for positive behavior during garden class is a chance to pick and eat fresh kale.
Stories like this made it easy to feel good about contributing to the La Honda Education Foundation, and so did the environment. As guests mingled beneath the redwoods, they finished off their dinners with tiramisu, cheesecake, mixed berry medley, and peach tarts made with fruit from the school garden. During the raffle in the later part of the evening, a 5th grade student from La Honda won a CD signed by Neil Young.