The Riverbank High School Culinary Class has created a garden on campus that has several herbs, healthy greens, and flowers. They have used these items in several dishes that they have created in the kitchen for class. Not only have they used garden fresh ingredients in their creations but they also recently entered their garden in a nationwide contest on Instagram and won.
The Bullock Garden Project posted the #whywegarden contest on Instagram and called on teachers to send in a video of their garden. So RHS Culinary Teacher Emily Cowdrey answered the call. With the help of Instructor Jon Gianelli and the multimedia class, along with the culinary class, they created a video of their garden and what they do with the things they grow and submitted it. The contest was open to schools throughout the United States.
“I think the work Emily is doing with her students is inspiring,” said Gianelli. “She puts so much of herself into what she does and she cares so much for her students and the community. She was able to make use of the limited land available to her students so that they can grow herbs and use them in their cooking. I know that she and her students will use the prize that they received as efficiently and effectively as they can in order to grow our garden and benefit her students.”
They won $500 from the Ron Finely Project, garden beds and pots and plan to put all to good use. Cowdrey would like to add some planter boxes so they can grow more crops.
“They couldn’t believe it but they were pleased,” Cowdrey admitted of the students. “We are going to put the garden equipment to good use and the cash we want to build more structures to plant in.”
The garden grow bags were given to both the teachers, which can be used just like a pot with soil to grow plants.
“I was very happy for Emily’s students and proud of our students for the great work that they did,” added Gianelli. “The students were very proud to have put something like that together. They take their work very seriously and work hard to produce the best work that they can in the time we have available. We were only given one week to complete this project and they worked well under such a short timeline.”
The video crew included eight students: Lewis Hampton, Bryant Torres, Marissa Duran, Gissell Perez, Eileen Maloney, Myles Camp, Daniela Medrano, and Damien Torres from Mr. Gianelli’s multimedia class.
“I am very proud of the work my students do,” stated Gianelli. “They work together as a team and have each shown a love and proficiency for different aspects of media production, from sound design, cinematography, light design, editing, and storytelling. As they each find their niche they have become an incredibly effective crew with professionalism and work ethic that impresses me every day.”
Sonya Harris from New Jersey with the Bullock Garden Project announced online that Riverbank High School was the winner of the contest and showed the video that RHS had submitted. She gave them many accolades for their garden and what they do with the food they make. There were numerous entries submitted but Riverbank High was selected as the grand prize winner.
The small but humble garden has produced a variety of items, from cilantro, parsley, and kale and with the win from the contest they hope to make a bigger garden where they can grow much more.