The best/most annoying/most nerve-racking experience I’ve had in Growing Leaders so far is probably when we sold chile in November. It was pouring rain, which was extremely awesome, even though the (absolutely positively beautiful) sign Fae and I put outside ended up being destroyed. At one point, everyone got extremely worried because we thought we had miscounted and were short of *literally* everything we packed out, and on top of that, we forgot to put sugar in every batch of cornbread that we made (which didn’t actually taste that bad when it was eaten with the chile). And to top everything off, the meal was at the same time as the culture fair, so I had to periodically run all the way across the school’s campus (in the pouring rain, mind you), and make an appearance at the fair so I would get credit, and run back to the school kitchen (still in the pouring rain) to sell meals again. But in spite of all of the hassle, it was a pretty fun experience overall to run around in the kitchen selling meals to everyone, including my gardening teacher from elementary school, Rivka.
This class has stood out because it is a different kind of learning experience. It teaches us business, culinary, and agricultural skills that are helpful in and outside of school and well beyond Willard. We spend at least 30 minutes a day either in the Willard garden or kitchen. In the garden we plant and harvest crops for our locally grown, locally sold meals. We also make compost, plant cover crops, and make sure our garden is well cared for. In the Willard kitchen, we strengthen our culinary skills and prepare the vegetables grown in the willard garden.
One thing that particularly stood out to me was the day we played iron chef. We were given some ingredients and one hour to make a meal. We were not given any help and had to rely on what we knew. Every group had to make a main dish and side dish or dessert without a recipe. From homemade pasta to frittatas, we all made dishes as groups. At the end of the class, no one felt there were any losers or winners. We all worked well together and asked for other people’s opinions before we made any decision no matter if it was to add another clove of garlic or put the bread in the oven. The whole game taught us the importance of teamwork. This class is an escape from the average classroom and days like this make school better.