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3501 New York Ave NE
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Washington Youth Garden

How you might be eating petroleum products (plus a fun, petroleum-free, recipe)...

April Martin

Bethany, our School Garden Coordinator, sent me her adorable parent newsletter, “Digging in,” written for the pre-K classes she teaches weekly at our Garden Science partner school.  It included the following fun (and very delicious) Rainbow Rollups Recipe that I’ve attached at the end of this post.

Meanwhile, I also read an article called Opening Pandora’s Lunchbox that is one of the best adult versions I’ve ever read for the whole vs. slightly processed vs. very processed food discussion we have with our older student program participants.  Whole foods, foods that are not modified from their original forms (i.e. and egg or a carrot), are great to eat, but do narrow down your dietary options quite a bit.  This article teases out the (sometimes scary) differences between mildly processed food (defined in this article as something that you could reasonably replicate in your own kitchen) and a very processed food, like corn syrup or a pop-tart.  I love that the garden provides such a natural and positive starting ground for talking about and tasting healthy food!

Rainbow Rollups Recipe

About 4 large Kale leaves (we prefer Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale to other kale varieties, but any variety can be used), washed and spun dry
1 large carrot, peeled or scrubbed
½ of a jicama, peeled
½ of an avocado
¼ of a head of purple cabbage
About a dozen grape tomatoes
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
3-4 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese (whipped cream cheese is easiest to spread)
3-4 whole grain flour tortillas

Fold kales leaves in half lengthwise and cut or tear out large center ribs. Stack de-ribbed kale leaves on top of one another lengthwise and, beginning with end closest to you, roll the leaves into a thick cigar-shaped roll. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled leaves lengthwise into thin strips or “ribbons”. Place kale ribbons into a large mixing bowl.

Use a box grater to shred the carrot into thin strips. Thinly slice jicama widthwise from top to bottom several times. Working with several slices at a time, stack and cut lengthwise into matchsticks. Cut cabbage into thin strips with a sharp knife. Slice tomatoes several times crosswise into rounds.
Add carrot, jicama, cabbage and tomatoes to mixing bowl with kale ribbons.

Squeeze lemon juice into mixing bowl. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper to bowl and gently mix all ingredients together.

Cut the avocado into cubes.

Spread approximately 1 tbsp. cream cheese on each tortilla (be sure to spread cream cheese all the way out to tortilla edges). Place 1-2 scoops salad mixture on each tortilla. Top salad mixture with several avocado cubes.

Roll tortillas up tightly and use cream cheese (on tortilla edges) to seal rolls closed. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or up to overnight (allows time for rolls to soften, which helps keep them closed after slicing). Prior to serving, remove rolls from refrigerator and unwrap. Using a sharp knife, slice lengthwise into 1/2”-1” rolls. 

Serve and enjoy!

- Charla

p.s. If you read our posts about how to get your kids to eat more vegetables, you might enjoy this recent article from NPR about other proven methods of improving children’s eating habits!