Young gardeners cultivate their own Farmer's Market

BUGS program puts elementary kids in charge

Family: events, activities

April 29, 2004|By Elizabeth L. Piccirillo | Elizabeth L. Piccirillo,SUN STAFF

Money doesn't grow on trees. But a group of 40 elementary school students at Living Classrooms Foundation has been working in the greenhouse since February to learn to grow it in other ways.

This Saturday's sixth BUGS Farmer's Market at Living Classrooms Foundation on South Caroline Street will put the kids in command, giving them the opportunity to earn a paycheck from selling produce they have planted and grown themselves, including flower, vegetable and herb seedlings, along with other homemade treats.

The Farmer's Market is a product of the after-school program Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students (BUGS). The program aims to educate inner-city third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about gardening, cooking, art and movement while providing them with resources to which they may not normally have access.

To prepare for the market, the students learned how to plant and care for the seeds they sowed inside a Living Classrooms greenhouse. They also learned about the plants and business skills.

"We tried to give them the big picture of business," said Keri Burneston, BUGS' program co-director. "From creative ways to promote it to customer service to calculating receipts and expenses."

Program Director Heather Rebstad says it makes the children feel good to be able to show off the knowledge and skills they have learned. "Not only will they know what types of plants they are selling, they know how to grow them and the best way to care for them," she said. "It's inspiring to see."

Customers can expect to find a variety of seedlings, including tomatoes, basil, marigolds and sunflowers (they are encouraged to plant them in a garden of their own). Also up for grabs will be salad greens, homemade dressing and salsa, baked goods, granola and trail mix. Those who can't wait to eat their garden-grown treats can enjoy samples or grab a burger off the market's grill. Shoppers can also enjoy face painting, live music, step dancing and an appearance from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey-trained clown Greg May.

"Some people say our plants grow the biggest in their garden," said Burneston. "But otherwise this is a totally empowering event that benefits the kids."

The sixth annual BUGS Farmer's Market will be held inside the barn at Living Classrooms Foundation, 802 S. Caroline St. from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. rain or Shine. Call 410-685-0295 .

For more family events, see Page 42.

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