"Salad kids, come with me!" Local school celebrates student garden in tastiest way possible

Laura Lash, photos by Kelsey Smith |

Last week, on a bright and warm Wednesday morning, Harvest Fest was celebrated at my son's school, the Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School. It was my first opportunity as a mom to support a school-wide event – this one being a delicious meal of salad, homemade pizza, and cake. Local parents Erica Zerr, Sarah Szymanski and Shannon Paulus organized the roles and duties for both adults and children to collaborate in meal preparation right on site. I was assigned to the school's garden where children had cultivated vegetables during the spring and summer with guidance from Zerr and an entire community of green-thumbed parents. Each child who'd filed out of school onto the playlot that morning had been assigned an ingredient they were going to add to their group's pizza. Small groups flocked to the pizza-ingredient tables for assembly. My joy was shouting, hand raised, "Basil kids and Salad kids, come with me!" A pair of children from each pizza group headed to the garden with me to pinch off leaves of basil for the pizzas and trim a few leaves of lettuce for the salads. Next, tongs in hand, I asked each queued up child "Dressing or no dressing?" as I served up small portions of salad, and they continued down the line to receive a pickled green bean and a small square of beet-and-chocolate cake. The pizza they had lovingly created was quickly baked over the wood fire burning at the back end of the Foster Cheese Haus Fire Truck, and then delivered to their dining tables. All told, the salad, pizza sauce, and even the cake were infused with vegetables from the school's own garden. The event was a great combination of healthy eating, collaboration, outdoors and joyful faces.

See more photos!

Fall Harvest Party