Littlest Sprouts at PIFS Return to a Bountiful Harvest

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Nolda Joseph, head of the Kitchen at Putnam Indian Field School holds a basket full of fresh produce from the organic gardens on the pre-school’s campus. Joseph recently made bread from the squash the children grew. Credit: Leslie Yager

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PIFS mom Marcells Kapsaroff said the children enjoy sampling the edible nasturtium flowers. Some even enjoy eating basil leaves. Credit: Leslie Yager

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The end of summer bees were buzzing over the marigolds in the organic beds at Putnam Indian Field School in September. Credit: Leslie Yager

By Marianne Riess, Photos by Leslie Yager

Last Spring, parents and children at Putnam Indian Field School (PIFS) planted nine organic gardens on the school grounds to encourage and celebrate healthy eating. The gardens were part of the school’s move to organic, non-GMO, more fruit and vegetable filled lunches.

In between the many vegetables, the children planted marigolds (to discourage bunnies), herbs and nasturtiums.

Tomatoes of all varieties, lettuces, onions, cucumbers, beans, broccoli and squash flourished over the summer under the supervision and care of PIFS Mom, Marcella Kapsaroff and her little daughter Izzy Jane.

As August rolled around and the school was empty of children, office staff at the school loved taking home warm, sun-ripened tomatoes for their families’ enjoyment.


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This PIFS students preparing to nibble a basil leaf, which was much enjoyed. Credit: Leslie Yager

When the children returned after Labor Day, they found the school-grown vegetables had become part of their snacks and lunches. The school cooks, Nolda Joseph and Alba Jaramillo, can just run out the back door and pick what they need for salad and veggie offerings. And what a treat for the children to pick and eat the delicious cherry tomatoes while they play outside at school: Nature’s candy!

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Schoolmates take a break under an arbor of cherry tomatoes at PIFS. Credit: Leslie Yager

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