Health in Motion: Mt. Washington Children’s Center
Oct 09

Health in Motion: Mt. Washington Children’s Center

By Malarie Dauginikas, Mt. Washington Children's Center Volunteer

This article is a part of a series called Health in Motion brought you by Let’s Move Pittsburgh. Health in Motion is intended to showcase the efforts of schools and community organizations in the Pittsburgh region who are leading children to a healthier future. A new project with a guest author or interviewee will be featured each month. Let’s Move Pittsburgh hopes that Health in Motion will encourage leaders to adopt healthy programs in their communities and inspire readers to make healthy changes in their own lives.


Fall Brings Fruitful Harvest at MWCC

Where can you find the freshest vegetables in Pittsburgh? Hint: You won’t find it on the City’s seasonal farmer’s market schedule. While the location might be unexpected, the fruitful harvest is hard to miss.

Giant spheres of orange stuck out underneath a bed of large, leafy green vines tangled along our fence on Southern Avenue. In the lower yard, a row of cornstalks stands tall near a playground of teepees sprouting beans, with zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes rounding out our urban cornucopia.

Mt. Washington Children’s Center isn’t your typical farm, and the green thumbs behind this harvest aren’t your typical farmers. Let’s Move Pittsburgh provided the opportunity for our pre-kindergarten children and a couple of dedicated teachers to transform our classrooms and outdoors into an urban farm. We began in the springtime, learning about what plants needed to grow, and with some sun, water, a little Miracle Gro and some TLC, the children cultivated a bounty of veggies to share amongst themselves and their families at our end-of-summer farmer’s market.

Leading up to the market, we taste tested every type of vegetable we grew. The children picked the vegetables, washed the vegetables and shucked the corn! As a snack, our teacher Megan popped our corn. The children decided to add some cinnamon and brown sugar to spice up the fluffy kernels. We also prepared our zucchini in different ways, mixing it into our dishes at lunch and learning to bake zucchini muffins, also. To add some variety to our farmer’s market helpings, we sold our muffins for 25 cents each. Our families were able to “shop” our market alongside their children, picking out their favorite veggies to take home.

Later that week, with the money we raised from our muffin sale, the children cooled off with a trip to our local ice cream shop. This was a great way to make our farm-to-table lessons come full circle, teaching them how farmers work hard to grow the vegetables we buy, so they can reward their own families.

Although the traditional planting season has ended, we continue to be busy growing lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in an inside hydroponic machine and a portable indoor dirt garden in our classroom. We hope to make a difference in the lives of our children, and we thank the families who have helped us with planting, purchasing and consuming our products grown fresh and made fresh in our little school community garden. Happy harvesting and happy fall to all!