On Thursday, August 10, Franklin Elementary School gave their summer school students a special treat. They got to taste salsa, pesto, and lemonade made with ingredients they grew all summer, along with using honey from their bee hive.

Jefferson and Mulberry students have been taking care of the garden since May with supplies provided by United Way. United Way provided the students with boxes, dirt, compost, and plants, as well as education for teachers. United Way purchased the curriculum “Growing in the Garden,” with lessons and activities for students and teachers to learn more about planting and taking care of the products that they grow.

Nichole Sorgenfrey with United Way says that they have been wanting to plant gardens in the schools and found this a great time because the summer school students could continue to take care of the products while everyone was on vacation.

“We did things like take leaves off of plants and put cages on tomatoes,” said student Sylar Honts. “I’m excited to try the lemonade with honey.”

Alleyea Alberhasky was the one showing the kids how they can make the plants they grew into food that they can eat. She brought along her food truck, called Butchers Vegetables, to show the kids. The truck currently only serves juice and smoothies but plans on expanding. The goal of the truck is to give healthier options to those who don’t have time to make healthy choices for their lunch break, and to give more vegetarian options in Muscatine. All of the produce in Alleyea’s truck is from local farms.

“Healthy habits start young,” says Alleyea as she explains why it’s important that we teach young students about gardening and eating their own produce.

The students got a full demonstration of how easy it is to make a healthy choice with ingredients that they can make at home. The goal is that students will continue to want healthier options when they see how easy it can be.