“Planting Seeds for the Future” is an entrepreneurial/garden project based at Border Star Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri. Working with students in grades 4-6 “Planting Seeds” weaves together themes of financial literacy, small business development, creative writing, and critical thinking all centered on the student run and maintained urban garden. Upper Elementary students will have the opportunity to create their own businesses, with unique marketing, logos and sales ideas generated by the students’ research and production in raised garden beds. Students will maintain journals, create visual art and creative writing projects, conduct research, explore issues of health and wellness, organic gardening, sustainability as well as social and environmental issues centered on food. Planting Seeds seeks to implement steps designed to engage students in positive creative actions, analytical and critical thinking aimed at ending poverty and creating socially & environmentally conscious citizens. Planting Seeds for the Future is made possible by a generous grant from the United Services Community Action Agency and is sponsored through the University of Missouri-Kansas City Division of Diversity, Access & Equity.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Salsa Sale

From early on in the development of the Planting Seeds project we wanted the majority of decisions to come directly from the students. In selecting which projects to pursue, I proposed many different entrepreneurial/garden ideas to the students and encouraged them to add their own concepts. Throughout these brainstorming sessions the number one request from the students was to make and sell their own salsa. As a foodie, I thought that this was a beautiful idea – fresh ingredients taken by the students and turned into a delicious product that people would really enjoy. Everyone involved was excited about the project, yet I must admit that I spent several sleepless nights wrestling with the insane logistics of the task. These logistics included purchasing the correct quantities of produce, purchasing, storing and transporting a wide range of kitchen equipment, finding a suitable classroom space to work in, engaging 75 students in the process of making salsa, and getting the salsa made and packaged in our half hour class period. To top this off were the troubling visions of a crowded classroom and too many 10 & 11 year olds with very sharp knives.

Salsa making day was truly a huge success and pleasure to be involved with. Although hectic and fast paced the day went off with little mess and only minor injuries. The students worked cleanly and were focused and disciplined and through strong teamwork they completed their batches of salsa within our short class period.

In the past all student sales events had taken place immediately after school. As the best time to attract the main target audience of parents and teachers, this was naturally our main focus. The problem was that many of the students could not stay after school to participate in the sales. In order to give those students the opportunity to be involved we decided to have both an after school sale and a lunch time sale. Students of all ages added to their lunch time meal with a small container of salsa and plate of chips. In addition to the small .50 chips and salsa, the students also offered an 8oz and 16 oz container for $3.00 and $5.00. Originally we had scheduled two afternoon and two lunch sales, but much to our surprise and pleasure the salsa sold out by the end of the second lunch, eliminating the need for the final sale.

Congratulation to all the Panting Seeds students and group leaders, your hard work and focus created a truly successful sales event. Thank you to Ms. Owens and her entire staff in the Border Star Kitchen for your support and help.

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