Summer Solstice Feast proceeds help keep school gardens green and growing

Waggoner Elementary student Aylin Molina Sanchez prepares a tomato transplant for planting at the Waggoner School garden. (Courtesy photo)

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By PATTY ROMINGER/Winters Farm to School

Have you ever met a kid who doesn’t like to dig in the dirt? Waggoner Elementary and Rominger School students are fortunate to have school gardens on site where they can dig in. They plant seeds, water, weed, and harvest seasonal vegetables and colorful flowers. And while seemingly just playing in the dirt, they are actually learning about how to grow their own healthy foods… a valuable life skill that could help them in the future to provide nutritional foods for their families. Or they may decide on a career in agriculture.

The gardens at Waggoner and Rominger Schools are funded by Winters Farm to School. Winters Farm to School, a local non-profit, provides annual garden grants to our schools for purchasing soil, compost, seeds and gardening equipment (including garden sheds). Members of the Winters Farm to School board assist in the gardens by teaching the students basic gardening skills and helping with garden maintenance.

“Our goal is to have the gardens become sustainable throughout the year,” says Gloria Lopez, president of Winters Farm to School and a local walnut grower. “We are currently putting together a long-range plan with the After-School Program, which includes regular time in the garden, tastings, nutritional education, sharing recipes and more fun activities for the students. The push is really toward teaching our children how healthy foods grow healthy kids.

“We also have plans to fund two garden assistant positions in the near future… one at Waggoner and one at Rominger. The garden assistants will work with the students to keep the gardens green and growing through the summer. That way they can be in full bloom when school starts again in the fall. When the students come back to school after summer recess, they are so excited to see red cherry tomatoes on the vine and honeydew melons ready for picking.”

Winters Farms to School raises funds for Winters school gardens at their annual summer fundraiser. This year, a Summer Solstice Feast will be held at on Saturday, June 23, at the historic Wolfskill Ranch in rural Winters. This will be Winters Farm to School’s Seventh Annual fundraiser.

The Summer Solstice Feast features an optional walking tour of the Wolfskill site (a working agricultural research station jointly operated by UC Davis and the USDA), a locally-sourced, multi-course feast seating 250 guests, fine wines and beer complimenting the meal, and a live and silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items donated by local artists, authors, businesses and families.

Tickets for the feast are $125 per person. Tickets can be purchased at ACE Hardware on Main Street, online at or by calling 530-795-6109. The feast has sold out every year so those wishing to attend should purchase their tickets early.


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