The Destin Pantry Garden is ready for Spring! Thank you to the volunteers that helped to clean up the garden beds and also plant new seeds and vegetables for the spring! We are excited to have the Full-Circle Garden to teach and to also use the produce within our cooking classes in the Emeril Lagasse Full Circle Kitchen!
Fact Friday: Did you know? Over the last school year 300 students were able to take home fresh produce from our Full Circle Gardens? We are striving to be able to allow kids to cook with fresh produce in the Emeril Lagasse Full Circle Kitchen, as well as provide more fresh produce from our gardens.
Thank you, Shoreline Church for your day of service at the Destin Pantry! We are so grateful for your time to come clean up the outside, build us a new shed for the garden, and also for your 638 Food Donations, which will help kick off the new school year. We appreciated you giving back to your community! Look below to see all the hard work their team put in on a hot Saturday afternoon cleaning up outside of the Destin Pantry and even building a beautiful new shed!
Spring (and almost summer!) has most definitely sprung within our Full Circle Gardens. Carrots, kale, herbs, tomatoes and an assortment of other vegetables are currently being harvested from our Destin and Walton Academy Gardens. With all of these vegetables, we have been able to use these veggies in our Emeril Lagasse Full Circle Cooking Classes. It is great to be able to teach the students how to use what is available to you in your recipes, and to show them exactly where their food is coming from.
Just take a look at the Destin Garden (as of mid-May):
Here is vegetable output from both the Destin and Walton Academy Garden:
Stay tuned to see some of the finished meals using these ingredients!
Our program coordinator, Bennet Bastian, has had quite the array of experiences prior to joining the team at Food For Thought. A world traveler and volunteer with The Peace Corp, Bennet is fluent in four additional languages (German + 3 Ethiopian languages). His two years experience with the Peace Corp and as a public health contractor in Ethiopia lead him to Food For Thought when he returned to his home on the Emerald Coast.
During his time in Ethiopia, Bennet focused on public health, organizing volunteers and gardening, which has translated well to his role at Food For Thought as the program coordinator. He spends his time supporting the programs at each of the pantries (backpack, snack and garden), and definitely has become our go-to-guy for anything related to the Full Circle Garden, as he helps to keep them flourishing. In addition, Bennet is key in helping our program director facilitate the packing and delivery of the backpacks and snacks to each of the schools among the two counties FFT Serves.
Bennet enjoys the interaction he has with the volunteers that come to help Food For Thought, and was drawn to FFT outreach knowing that it is helping to benefit kids in our community that are in need. A native of Okaloosa County, Bennet said that if he were a kid today, he would likely have been a beneficiary of the FFT program as he was on the reduced meal program in school himself.
We appreciate all the hard work that Bennet does coordinating our backpack, snack and garden programs and are very thankful that he has a green thumb!