Flex open house features student-grown vegetables

Most school open-house events are an opportunity for families to visit inside a school building and meet teachers. Flex School took it another step this year with a farm-to-table spin.

“It was amazing. We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Principal Karen Wessel of the attention the event attracted. 

In addition to having grown the showcased vegetables in the school garden, Flex students spent the day preparing food for their guests. Broccoli casserole, borsch, appetizers, pies.

“We had a lot of partners that made this work,” said Wessel of the school garden project that has been years in the making. Among the long list of those that shaped the program, Wessel listed former Flex teacher Jeff Szarzi; Dr. Steve Atwater, superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District; Emily Garrity of Twitter Creek Gardens; a $5,000 grant from Homer Soil and Water Conservation District; Jeff Middleton; the Poindexters’ greenhouse in Anchor Point; and many other contributors.

“It tied in with science, community service and employment for students,” said Wessel. “It’s been a great thing. One of those things that took a long time.” 

In addition to the abundance served to open-house guests, the students sold produce during the summer to Two Sisters Bakery and the Homestead Restaurant, and took some to the Homer Community Food Pantry and Farmers Market.

“And it’s still overflowing with kale and lettuce and broccoli,” said Wessel.