Gold Hill kids FUELED up with ‘Field to Fork’

joverman@fortmilltimes.comJune 3, 2013 

— On Wednesday, sixth-graders at Gold Hill Middle School had their hands in the dirt, digging up onions and harvesting the other crops they have been working hard to cultivate all year.

By lunchtime Thursday, they were enjoying the fruits – well, the vegetables, to be exact – of their labors.

Thanks to the “Field to Fork” program, a partnership with FUEL Pizza, the sixth-graders spent the school year growing a garden of vegetables and herbs traditionally found on a pizza. The project culminated in a lunch courtesy of FUEL Pizza; the pies were topped with vegetables and herbs from the students’ garden.

Sam Wood, general manager of FUEL Pizza in Rock Hill, delivered 55 pies to the school for the sixth-graders and their teachers.

The students grew a variety of crops, including onions, tomatoes and garlic, as well as oregano and basil.

Every student had the opportunity to plant something, science teacher Pamela Harrington said. Harrington, a life-long gardener herself, was excited to tackle this project with her students. Everything in the garden was grown organically, she added.

“A lot of them go to the grocery store to get their food. I wanted them to grow something they ate,” Harrington said.

Skylar Hollanndsworth, a sixth-grader, wouldn’t usually order a pizza topped with piles of fresh vegetables, she said.

“I would never put a big piece of tomato on it, but it’s really good,” she said. “It tastes fresh. I like that we know it’s fresh.”

Jessica Kimball agreed. The pizza toppings were far from her usual, but it wasn’t slowing her down.

“It’s, like, the best pizza ever,” Kimball said.

Growing the vegetables was as fun as eating them, said Jordan Meek. Her class was able to garden during science class each day but also visited the garden occasionally during Social Studies, she said.

“I liked helping them grow,” Meek said. “I thought it was really cool to watch.”

Xavier Marzoratti wasn’t sure about the pizza toppings – he and his friends usually go for a “supreme” pizza, he said – but he was willing to give it a shot. He picked the tomatoes off but enjoyed the other vegetables and herbs.

The gardening was hard, Marzoratti said. But as he enjoyed his pizza he had to admit, “It was worth it.”

This is the first time FUEL Pizza has worked with a school in South Carolina. Previously they had partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. Bob Puhl, who heads up special events for FUEL Pizza in Charlotte, said the company hopes that Gold Hill Middle is just the first of many partnerships between FUEL Pizza and schools in South Carolina.

“We want to promote health in all schools,” Puhl said. “That’s how it all got started.”

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