Another season of community participation is underway at The Brick American Kitchen + Bar in Kendall’s Downtown Dadeland.
This farm-to-table community restaurant is celebrating a year of collaboration with students at Kendall’s Leewood K-8 Center, and the growth of their school garden program.
Restaurant owner Corey Bousquet greeted the students with freshly tilled soil and a passion for food awareness. The planting day was begun with eager faces and curiosity.
Bousquet set the tone for the day by sharing with studens, “Being out here is about learning something together. I try to learn something new every single day. If you can take away one good thing from this garden and use it for your own garden, that is the success.”.
An array of vegetables were on the agenda for this season’s harvest. Children learned about a variety of tomatoes, radishes, and carrots that could thrive in the local climate.
They took turns with different parts of the planting process — some helped dig the holes that would be home to these growing plants and others gently assisted the plants out of their temporary pots and nestled them in their planting beds.
Some students assumed the responsibility of turning the soil and watering the beds to prepare the soil for incoming seeds. The students were deeply engaged — learning about nature and growth, the needs of their crops, and strategizing the best ways to care for the fruits of their efforts. The harvest was ultimately to be served on The Brick’s new fall menu.
Aside from some fun in the sun, this hands-on experience served as a platform for learning. To successfully plant, children had to evaluate the quantity of plants and depth of soil, ensuring that the vegetables had adequate space to thrive throughout the growth cycle.
Taking into account different growth rates and times that each kind of vegetable would take to harvest involved time management and prioritization. Students calculated the amount and frequency for watering, debating weather patterns, and hypothesizing the optimal action plan. This experience seemed to inspire a remarkable sense of pride and attention to learning and food awareness, creating an opportunity for students to connect to their project, each other, and themselves by becoming involved with their food.
“For me, the most exciting part of our school garden is seeing a child’s face when they learn not all carrots are orange, and the pride of weekly harvesting the food they grew themselves,” Bousquet said.
“Any restaurant can serve delicious food. The dream behind The Brick is deeper than that. I want to carve out a space where we can build relationships and create a culture around eating — connecting with our community to bring our guests unparalleled service while enjoying the best in locally sourced, seasonally inspired flavor,” Bousquet said.
The Brick American Kitchen + Bar is a farm-to-table restaurant open seven days a week, located in Downtown Dadeland at 8955 SW 72 Pl. The restaurant serves a rotating seasonal menu, with an evolving weekly Happy Hour, and a delectable Sunday Farmer’s Brunch.