CitySprouts Festival

8:17 AM

One of the things we love about Fall are all the harvest festivals. Nothing says Fall like pumpkins, apple cider and caramel apples, right? Then I heard about the CitySprouts Festival: Hands-on cooking and crafts for kids, Iron Chef style cook-off, live music and info on school gardening. We were on our way to Cambridge faster than you can stuff a scarecrow.

What is CitySprouts?
As stated on on their website:
"CitySprouts is a school and community program that integrates academic, health and environmental education in the public schools and in the neighborhood through school gardens... Based in Cambridge, MA, CitySprouts school gardens ensure that hands-on learning, environmental stewardship, and the experience of growing and eating food becomes part of the public education all children receive."
Who can argue with that? Check out their Facebook page too to learn more.

Annual CitySprouts Festival
This year's festival was held at the Fletcher-Maynard Academy in Cambridge, MA. There were plenty of things to keep even the most skeptical kid (namely my youngest) busy - pumpkin decorating, apple cider press, games and prizes just to name a few. And the CitySprouts mission of inspiring schools and families with a hands-on connection to the food cycle, sustainability and the environment came through in a fun and unassuming way.

Here are some photos of our day at The CitySprouts Festival:

The cider press was a popular attraction. Kids got a chance to make fresh apple cider using a cider press and some elbow grease.

No juice boxes here!

The Stone Soup station offered kids a chance to prep vegetables grown in the school garden and add them to the pot to make "Stone Soup".

CitySprouts volunteer demonstrating prepping greens for the soup pot.

Kids were able to decorate flags using stamps made from vegetables. Will need to steal this idea!

Volunteers helping kids create works of art using vegetables grown from the garden.

Leeks, potatoes and and radishes make great stamps!
 Connect 3 kept festival goers moving with some upbeat tunes.

Jamming in the streets of Cambridge.

Older kids competed in teams for a Dip-off in which teams created dips and salsas top-chef style.

Future top chefs in the making.

Fun and games that kept kids busy and introduced them to a variety of fruits and veggies.

Bean/straw game: pick up dried beans using a only a straw.
How many beans can you drop into this glass cylinder?

The playground was a huge hit with my oldest. He proclaimed it to be one of the coolest playgrounds ever. And a good reminder for everyone to keep moving.

Playground at Fletcher-Maynard Academy

Ended the afternoon decorating pumpkins using vegetables, sticks, and toothpicks. 

Decorated pumpkins

Of all the festivals we had been to this year, this was one of our favorites. My only beef I had was the lack of food. There were limited slices of Stone Hearth pizza available for purchase, and samples of fresh pressed cider and stone soup. Lack of food spurred us to travel a couple of blocks to grab lunch at Flour Bakery and Cafe.  Okay, maybe I shouldn't complain!

The CitySprouts Festival reinforced how important school gardens are to schools and the community for me. So much so that I've joined a steering committee to create a school garden at my son's elementary school. Maybe one day my son's school will host the next CitySprouts Festival.

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