MEarth Organic Garden & Kitchen, Carmel Valley CA – Volunteer Appreciation Dinner 2013

It’s time to turn to fresh, healthy, delicious organic food! I  volunteer at the MEarth Organic Garden & Kitchen in Carmel Valley, California. Tuesday mornings I excitedly wake up, put on my gardening gear, hop in the truck and drive 20 minutes from our house in Monterey to Carmel Valley to be at MEarth by 8am, home of one of the most amazing volunteer-run gardens I’ve had the pleasure of getting dirty in.

MEarth is an environmental education nonprofit in Carmel Valley, California and is growing the next generation of environmental leaders through education, collaboration, partnerships and community action. They are located on property adjacent to Carmel Middle School, and so students here and from K-12 schools and colleges around Monterey County participate in MEarth programs.

Take a look at this map to get an idea of Monterey County’s spread:

 

 

 

Sustainability practices and principles are the foundation of MEarth’s programming and curriculum. They teach students that all of their actions – from the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the cars they drive, and the homes they live in – have a direct impact, not only on their own lives, but also on our planet’s health. MEarth provides innovative hands-on instruction to students of all ages. 

Most programs are run at the Hilton Bialek Habitat (the garden) and in their state-of-the-art “Green Building” and kitchen, shown below:

MEarth state-of-the-art “Green Building” and kitchen, where classroom learning, community workshops, and cooking takes place.

LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design award

 

On Wednesday, May 15, MEarth staff held an appreciation dinner for the many volunteers who work in the garden, kitchen, and with the kids…parents, teachers, local landscape designers, and community volunteers…like me! If you like what you see, I’ve included links to many of the recipes kindly provided by MEarth staff.

Beautiful dinner table setting 

The MEarth staff harvested, cooked, and served volunteers an AMAZING thank you dinner.

 

Guest trickling in, snacking on hor’devoures and getting to know each other.

 

Fresh from the garden! House Salad + Roasted Beets, Roasted Carrots + Balsamic Honey Glaze,  fresh-made croutons.

 

Artichokes + Garlic Aioli

Roasted Fennel + Parmesan…wow this was GREAT. I never knew that fennel root can be soo good!

 

The main course was a choice of 2 kinds of quiche: Potato + Fennel + Spinach + Onion + Thyme (vegetarian) and Bacon + Mushroom + Spinach + Onion + Rosemary (meat lovers’). Here’s the basic recipe just customize the veggie and meat ingredients!

Dessert: Raw Strawberry Puree + Cashew Cream. Made with fresh strawberries from the garden.

Happy volunteers enjoying a wonderful dinner. – Photo by MEarth staff

 

The dinner table setting included artichoke plants, garlic bulbs, and flowers from the garden such as this soft and velvety lambs ear with carrot tops in mason jars.

 

Succulent gifts for volunteers to take home.

 

I chose this one, it’s on my coffee table beautifying the house. Let’s take a walk through the habitat, where many of the nights’ delicious menu items came from…

 

 

 

Main entrance into the garden.

 

Outdoor oven where pizza, breads, and lots of yummy goodness is baked.

 

 

Peruvian lilies…my favorite in the garden. They make great cutting flowers.

 

pom pom flowers

 

Fresh strawberries…where dessert came from!

Fresh fennel tops and roots..soo good!

 

mmm…onions!

I helped make these structures and plant the potatoes. They’re growing! Yay!

 

A well-stocked and organized garden shed.

Greenhouse

 

Solar energy

 

Where seedlings from the greenhouse “harden off” before planted in the garden.

 

The cutest caterpillar in the world!

 

Me with Cassie, the garden goddess, Carmel Valley native,  and Americorps member that runs the garden. She gets things done! To find out about volunteer opportunities at MEarth Hilton Bialek Habitat, visit their website.

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Isabella Guajardo, also known as Girl With A Truck™, is a professional home organizer and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Living in Oakland and Monterey, she travels in her truck to work with clients throughout the SF Bay Area, East Bay, South Bay, Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz and Monterey Peninsula. She shares simple and creative ways to stay organized and stylish while reducing, recycling and re-purposing. Join Bella Organizing on Facebook. Gift certificates are available.

Call (510) 229-7321 to schedule a complimentary telephone consultation.

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