Special Evening Produce Sale this Wednesday from 5 to 7

School Garden Produce Sales have been taking place Wednesdays from 10 to 1 in the Northlake Elementary School Garden all summer long, with students proudly selling the gorgeous produce they’ve grown and tended.

This Wednesday we’re breaking a bit with tradition and hosting a special Evening Produce Sale as a last hurrah before we begin Fall Garden Programs. There are still so many beautiful fruits and vegetables to be tasted and savored before the season ends.

We hope you’ll stop by for this special event.

School Garden Produce Sale: Special Evening Edition
Wednesday, Sept 6th, 5:00 to 7:00
Northlake School Garden

2210 Olympia Way

FREE Volunteer Training with School Gardens – Sept 8th & 9th, 2017

The first Volunteer Training of the new school year is coming up very soon!
School Gardens staff members are looking forward to meeting new
friends, as well as welcoming back familiar ones.

Two identical sessions are offered:
– Friday, September 8th, 9:00 to noon –
– Saturday, September 9th, 9:00 to noon –

Register by sending an email to ian@LCschoolgardens.org and
specifying which day you plan to attend.

Spring 2017 Garden programs begin March 6th, 2017

Weekly Spring Garden programs begin on Monday, March 6th, 2017
– this means a lot of good things, including weekly volunteer opportunities!

If you haven’t volunteered with us before, please email our Volunteer Coordinator julia@lcschoolgardens.org and
we’ll get you plugged in with the garden or activity that’s right for you and your schedule.

Every hour you’re able to contribute as a volunteer – whether it’s on a weekly, monthly, or even an
annual basis – makes a difference in the lives of kids and families in our community.

FREE Volunteer Training with School Gardens – Feb 17 & Feb 18, 2017

The first Volunteer Training of 2017 is coming up next month in February.
School Gardens staff members are looking forward to meeting new
friends, as well as welcoming back familiar ones.

Two identical sessions are offered:
– Friday, February 17th, 9:00 to noon –
– Saturday, February 18th, 9:00 to noon –

Register by sending an email to ian@LCschoolgardens.org and
specifying which day you plan to attend.

Offering thanks for the Seeds!

During 2016, School Gardens is proud to have helped students, families, volunteers, and other community members plant more than 130,000 square feet of space in 17 different gardens!

But here’s the thing: we couldn’t have planted anything, or grown beautiful and nourishing produce with (and for) our community without seeds.

We are so thankful again this year to the farmers, growers, and companies
who provided us with the ability to grow our gardens during 2016. We count ourselves as tremendously fortunate to witness thousands of students experiencing the magic and wonder of seeds for the first time – and it is all because of the generosity of the people mentioned below.

It is with admiration for the beautiful and important work they do, and for their generous giving that we thank these folks:

Baker Creek Heirlooms

Botanical Interests

Bountiful Gardens

Greg’s Gardens

Irish Eyes Garden Seeds

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Our American Roots

Peaceful Valley

Renee’s Garden

Seed Savers Exchange

Territorial Seed Company

Tsugawa Nursery


Now Hiring! School Garden Assistant/Cowlitz AmeriCorps Member

Lower Columbia School Gardens invites kind, energetic candidates to apply to join our team as a 2016-2017 School Garden Assistant/Cowlitz AmeriCorps Member.  Please pass this along to anyone interested in making the world a better place by working with kids, volunteers, plants, and food in school gardens.
unnamed (1)                          unnamed                           unnamed (2)
The mission of Lower Columbia School Gardens (LCSG) is to build and sustain school gardens that cultivate the values of lifelong learning, sustainability, health and community in children and their families.  LCSG connects students and their families with real food and hands-on learning through dynamic garden and cooking programs.Position: School Garden Assistant (two identical positions are currently open)
Location: 17 school gardens in Longview and Kelso, with central operations at Northlake Elementary, 2210 Olympia Way in Longview
Hours: Hours vary with seasons but are generally 8:30 to 5:00.  This is a full time 11 month AmeriCorps position with minimum 1700 hours for the Sept 2016 – July 2017 term.
Compensation (through Cowlitz AmeriCorps Network):
  • $1,140 per month living allowance
  • $5,775 education award upon completion
  • Basic medical insurance (if eligible)
  • Childcare Benefits (if eligible)
Position Description: Garden Assistant/Cowlitz AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017
1.  Garden Assistant will lead groups of elementary and middle school students in a wide variety of garden activities.  Planting seeds, turning compost, propagation, watering, fertilizing, transplanting, harvesting, preparing soil, mulching, planting fruit trees and berry bushes, saving seeds, general garden maintenance.  Transport supplies to and from school site.
2. Teach garden related lessons tied to Common Core standards: examining worms and other garden creatures under microscopes, testing soil, identifying parts of plants, plant families, etc, as well as lessons on pollination, propagation, and natural history.  Transport supplies to and from school site.
3. Teach hands-on healthy cooking lessons to groups of students.  Garden Assistant will cook with students K-8 in outdoor kitchen (camp-type kitchen) environments as well as a few Home Ec classrooms where available.  Students will learn basic cooking skills and prepare dishes using ingredients fresh from the garden.  Examples: grilled vegetables, fresh salsa, roasted root vegetables, soup, lettuce wraps, salad, salad dressing, smoothies, pizza.  Garden Assistant will plan activities, set up tables and equipment, set up hand-washing station, procure ingredients, give hands-on instruction, clean up, wash dishes.
4.  Lead art and craft activities in the garden: drying flowers, painting garden signs, making bookmarks, grape vine wreaths, sewing, seed art.  Will plan activities, set up craft station, provide specific instruction to students, clean up.
5.  Garden Assistant will act as volunteer coordinator – recruiting, training, guiding, instructing, and maintaining contact through phone, email, and social media.
6.  Perform general garden maintenance tasks – water, weed, mulch, haul soil & debris, spread leaves and manure, turn compost, clean and organize garden sheds and greenhouses, build trellises.
7.  As a member of the Cowlitz AmeriCorps Team, participant will be required to attend trainings, participate in service projects, weekly meetings and other team activities.


  • U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, or lawful permanent resident alien of the U.S.
  • At least 17 years of age; there is no upper age limit.
  • Able to lift 40 pounds, perform physical work for multiple hours in variety of weather conditions.
  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Pass National Sex Offender Registry check, Washington State Background check, FBI background check.
  • It takes a unique person to dedicate nearly a year of their life to service. We appreciate those who bring a can-do attitude, a sense of humor, a zest for learning, and enthusiasm! Must be willing to work with a diverse team and be committed to the idea and practice of service as a way to improve yourself and the lives of others. Self-discipline and motivation are central to success.

To apply, or for more information about AmeriCorps:

  • Call (360) 577-5859
  • Stop by the Life Works building at 906 New York St. in Longview

Read full position description here.

Questions? Please call anytime: 360-431-6725, or reply to this email. Visit Lower Columbia School Gardens on our website and Facebook to get a better idea of the world-changing work we do.

Schedule for Summer Garden programs and Adopt-a-Garden

We’re coming up on the final week of Spring programs in School Gardens, which also means that Summer Garden programs will be starting soon.

We are also in need of families to adopt gardens for a week this summer. Adopting a garden means that you help take care of it for a week (or more!) – watering every few days (depending on the temperature), and harvesting what is ripe and ready to be picked. Gardening expertise or experience is not necessary! Once you have signed up we will review watering and harvesting with you before your scheduled week arrives.

There are so many different opportunities to volunteer or participate this summer – see the schedule below and contact info@LCschoolgardens.org if you still need more information. All garden activities and programs are FREE.

Summer Garden Schedule 2016

School Garden Summer Schedule 2016 can be downloaded here.

A recipe for Pizza Dough

Many folks have been asking for the recipe we use to make pizza dough…

  • 6 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 TBSP kosher salt

Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl using a whisk or a fork.

  • 3 cups luke warm water (if water is too hot it will kill the yeast)
  • 1 TBSP yeast
In a separate bowl or pitcher, mix water and yeast together and let sit until yeast gets happy and smelly (15-20 min).
Just before pouring liquid into flour/salt, mix 1/8 cup olive oil with the yeast and water, using a whisk.
Pour liquid into flour/salt and mix together with bare hands or wooden spoon. Don’t over-mix, and  you don’t have to do any kneading of the dough.
Cover bowl with a dry towel or loose lid and allow to sit on the counter for a few hours, then place in fridge, covered, until you are ready to use it.
For pizza made at home, take a piece of the dough out of the fridge (it’ll last around a week in the fridge but after that it starts to get a little more on the sour side) and let it sit for a few minutes before working with it. Use a decent amount of flour and a rolling pin to roll it out and then put it on a baking pan, or stretch it out directly on the baking pan. Then add toppings, etc. and bake at 450 degrees for about 10 – 15 minutes. You can also par-bake the crust if you want to add more substantial amounts of toppings.
For our big events, we make many trays of dough balls:
After dough has risen on the counter for a few hours and then has spent some time in the fridge, form the dough balls. With floured hands, grab a baseball-sized hunk and cut it off with scissors.  Instead of trying to wad and squeeze it into a ball, you want to stretch and pull the sides around, forming a tight round skin. The underside, where the stretched sides come together, will look messy and ragged. Watch this guy do this with a larger loaf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDBJkxoNpE8
Space the dough balls, smooth side up, on an oiled baking sheet. Use these balls in a few minutes, or cover w plastic wrap and return to fridge for later use (up to a week).  We like to stretch the dough to form thin crusts, but occasionally use a roller.
(The original recipe from “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” is here. The only difference with turning it into pizza (instead of a loaf of bread) is this: instead of shaping it into a loaf, you simply shape it into a thin flat disc, using as much flour as you need to keep it from sticking to your hands or to a pan. Add minimal ingredients on top and throw it into a 450-degree oven for about 10 minutes – could just be on a sheet pan, or a pizza stone if you’re fancy.)

Back to Basics ~ tips and techniques to create a great loaf in 5 minutes a day.