Falling Leaves & Rising Partnerships with A Living Library

                         Submitted by Courtney Calkins, A.L.L. Instructor

This November dreams of fall roots, turkeys, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pies were not the only fall felicities circling our heads. A Living Library was able to make a new friend with a shared desire for beautifying the Bernal Heights and OMI/Excelsior Branch Living Library & Think Park Gardens.  FlowerCraft Nursery became a much loved and appreciated part of the A.L.L. community this month when they donated over 200 plants to our Branch Living Library sites in San Francisco. From drought tolerant perennials to annual vegetables and flowers, their donation allowed us to add to a variety of Learning Zones in our gardens.  We even received arm-fulls of gorgeous ornamentals to adorn A.L.L. with bright spring colors. From honeysuckles to sweet peas, these treats were more mouth-watering than any Thanksgiving dessert !  And, if you have ever witnessed a holiday sugar high, just imagine how three A.L.L. Teachers and their hundreds of students bounced off the garden paths and walls in sheer joy and excitement, when planting these gorgeous plants into their new homes.  

With the help of our nursery donor and our students, we were able to add about 180 new plants to our Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park at Junipero Serra Child Development Center and Junipero Serra Elementary School, and about 50 plants to our OMI/Excelsior Branch at James Denman Middle School and San Miguel CDC.  This November we gave thanks to FlowerCraft Nursery for their generous donation that will encourage hands-on learning for years to come.

November’s Meal of the Month  recipe joins together many of our fall harvest foods available at our Bernal Heights & OMI/Excelsior Branch Living Library & Think Parks.

Did you know ? Though considered root vegetables by many, potatoes, sunchokes, and yams are all enlarged stems rather than roots. Foods such as beets, carrots, and radishes are actually roots, Fleshy Roots to be exact.

This clever recipe is a delicious mix of fall foods created by our A.L.L. Student Stewards, our afterschool garden mentors at the OMI/Excelsior Branch .  


10 Sun chokes, peeled and sliced

10 Purple Potatoes, sliced

½ white onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced

1 tsp olive oil to cook

Directions:  Thoroughly wash and scrub all underground foods before preparing to cook and eat, “dirt doesn’t hurt” but it doesn’t taste great either. Remove the sun chokes’ thick skin with a knife or peeler.  Slice chokes, potatoes, onion, and peeled garlic. Heat oil of your choice in a pan, heat, add your vegetables and stand by until they show signs of golden brown roasting.  Slide your serving into a bowl, take a deep fragrant breath, and enjoy the fall! 

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