A Living Library Celebrates Winter Solstice: Sun, Food, Crafts, and Fun!

At the OMI/Excelsior and Bernal Heights Branch Living Library & Think Parks, December meant many things for us; a celebration of plentiful resources, familial traditions, winter vacation, and the seasonal solstice; all came together through much hard work and enjoyment.  In some stories, the Winter Solstice signifies rebirth, where the shortening of daylight appeared to be the death of our sun; a natural resource that all life follows.  In many traditions, when the sun rises on the morning of the Solstice its presence is marked by celebration, and from this day forward the sun seems to grow in strength (truly growing only in hours of daylight/day).  


This past December,  A Living Library’s OMI/Excelsior Branch Student Stewards celebrated the end of their semester-long A.L.L. Mentorship Program with a Winter Solstice Party on December 21st, the first official day of winter. The Solstice made it the darkest work day in our Gardens, but this would never keep our students away from a celebration of their hard work.


Our first Winter Solstice Party shared global practices of many, with a feast, music, and artwork.  Our students were encouraged to combine healthful garden cooking skills with their favorite family dishes, and they created a wide array of foods, such as: garden fresh kale chips, homemade pesto pasta, and even established, a learn-how-to-make sushi station ! Food and festivities were shared with everyone who had helped out in the A.L.L. Gardens throughout the fall semester. As a parting gift students created holiday art projects that taught the importance of reusing natural resources from the garden. From Seasonal Stars and Garden-Dye Tree Drawings to the Stewards’ tee-shirt printing of student-designed logos, that boasted “We ain’t no Couch Potato!” all students were able to create art work to take home for the holidays. Spirits were high and the laughter was tangible as the sun set into the darkness of the longest night of the year.

photo 3This celebration was just a small token of appreciation that we could give our Student Stewards after the countless hours they spent creating, beautifying, and teaching younger children about A.L.L. and the Gardens over the past four months. A reflection of our students’ work ethic can be seen, in that the group as a whole received $500 in stipends for their collective 470+ hours learning and loving the Gardens.photo 4

Many students were thrilled with the aid this would give them in family holiday shopping! The growing strength and vitality of our Student Stewards After School Mentorship Program will be seen in the commencement of the program again in January.


Thank you everyone for all of your   hard work this year, including our funder, DCYF.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a New Year of exploration and experience!

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

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