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.
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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.

Produce Sale every Wednesday through September

Produce Sale SUMMER

Each week produce is harvested from 16 gardens for Wednesday sales at Northlake.

Student farmers are eager to sell you their berries, tomatoes, peas, greens, herbs, and cut flowers; as the summer progresses we’ll have peppers, figs, grapes, squash, cucumbers, plums, and more.

Low prices –

Beautiful produce –

Top-notch customer service


Starts June 22!


Click the image for details. Contact Ian if you still have a question.

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 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:
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.

School Garden Plant Sale is coming soon – Saturday May 7th

On your marks…get set…garden!

The School Garden Plant Sale is happening on Saturday, May 7th from 9 am to 1 pm.
There will be many kid-grown plants to choose from – Veggies, Herbs, Flowers, Perennials – as well as natives, edibles and ornamental plants from our friends at Watershed Garden Works!

It’s going to be a great time at the Northlake Elementary Garden at 2210 Olympia Way in Longview to benefit School Gardens and help us continue to connect kids and families with real food and hands-on learning. Join us for live music, tours of the garden and orchard, and meet garden rabbits Sam and Sorrel.


It’s potato planting time

It’s the time of year when we should be putting seed potatoes in the ground to grow ourselves an abundance of these tasty members of the nightshade family (the same family as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants). An easy way to remember when to plant potatoes is to always do it around the same time as St. Patrick’s Day. Even though that was last week, we are still well within the planting window.

Potatoes are relatively simple to grow and mostly require loose, well-fortified soil and consistent watering. High Mowing Seeds is a seed grower we admire and they have a helpful guide to growing potatoes that we’d like to share…we’ll be paying specific attention to the sections of the article that talk about growing in “Hills” and “Raised Beds”.

LCSG Planting Guide is a resource for School Garden volunteers or home gardeners

In 2015 one of our AmeriCorps members started on a project to build a growing guide that School Garden volunteers, staff, and even home gardeners could use as a reminder of what to plant and when. That AmeriCorps member is now a full-time employee with School Gardens and she has finished “building” the LCSG Planting Guide. Hooray!
Adapting information from resources like the School Garden Project in Eugene, OR, the Seattle Tilth Maritime NW Garden Guide, and Territorial Seed Company, this “at-a-glance” resource can be used one month at a time or printed and stored as a booklet. Either way, we hope you’ll find it useful.

Find the LCSG Planting Guide on our website.

Spring Garden Programs begin week of March 7

Spring Garden Programs begin the second week of March, which means weekly volunteer opportunities!
If you haven’t volunteered with us, please email to tell us particular times you’re available – weekly, monthly, or even annually – every hour makes a difference in the lives of kids and families in our community.

School Gardens Spring 2016 image

Print your own copy: School Gardens Spring 2016