A Garden Alumnus Reflects on the Harvest Festival
Students, faculty, and their families walk between the sunflowers. Lower schoolers dance around rows of kale as the band plays faster. Chef Mason works with EnAct Club students to refill tables with food and pizza. Garlic bread exits the garden oven to enter the mouths of hungry revelers. This year, for its 10th anniversary, the Harvest Festival is outside celebrating not just the garden and the harvest but the PDS community.
Over the past decade, students from PreK through 12 and parents have shared in great food, music, and garden scenery every fall. Some students who were in the Lower School when the event first began have grown to be juniors and seniors in the Upper School. In the past, after the a cappella groups sang, guests would leave the garden for the campus center to eat dinner, but this year, as day turns into night, people grab a plate and walk around the wildflower meadow and chicken coop.
I've been attending the Harvest Festival in different ways for seven years. First, I was an eager 8th grader, wanting to be involved in sustainability in the Upper School, and now I am an alumni guest watching the community that started before me continue to grow after me. From student eco-presentations to pizza, Upper Schoolers lead not for a grade or accolade but to connect people to their food and to each other. The Harvest Festival and the garden program connect the long hours of school to the real world.
Lights around the garden twinkle on and a fire crackles. Little Panthers huddle for warmth with bags of popcorn in front of the big screen. A film plays about not just what people can do to protect the environment, but what kids can do. The little Panthers stare wide eyed while Upper Schoolers carry on running the event. Over the next ten years they'll still be wide eyed, but they'll be leading too.
Tag Quijano PDS '17 is currently a sophomore at Yale University.
If you missed the premiere on Saturday, here's a great new video celebrating 10 joyful years of the garden program at PDS, created by local filmmaker Jared Flesher and produced by Sustainability Coordinator Liz Cutler. Also: more Festival photos added to our Flickr album!