Out for a walk day this past fall, I smiled when I saw the raised garden beds by the edge of the Maria Baldwin schoolyard in Cambridge. Freshly planted fall veggies, like the beautiful reds and greens of chard, drew me into the garden. A group of young adults was huddled by a nearby shed with apples and something that looked like an old fashioned ice-cream maker. I later learned that the device is a cider press.
I had stumbled upon CitySprouts Annual Cider Pressing at Maria Baldwin, where students in every grade would have have the opportunity to chop apples, crank the press and finally, raise their cups as they enjoyed the cider.
The first graders arrived in the school yard, excited to have the hands-on experience of making cider. But they probably didn’t realize that while they were having fun, they were also learning. A dozen little hands shot up and waved madly when the CitySprouts Garden Coordinator pitched questions to the group. The children identified the function of different parts of the apple press and they offered explanations as to why bees were drawn to the apple mash. They also knew that anything remaining in the cider press would be composted.
It was so much fun to watch that I signed up as a volunteer to assist with apple cider at another CitySprouts school garden location the following week. My experience at the Grahams and Parks School was similar to Baldwin– children making cider in the school courtyard, enjoying nature and learning to prepare food. A bonus at G&P: the students hail from countries across the globe, so when we raised our cider cups, “cheers” was offered in several different languages.
This is garden-based learning. It is educational and it is fun– for kids and adults alike. I can’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful afternoon than working in a garden.
Interested in volunteering for CitySprouts? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org