A Salsa Story

In September, we returned to Meek High School for an afternoon of making fresh salsa.

As we did for our partnership last Spring, we worked with two of Joe Ferguson’s Natural Science classes.

The day was especially amazing for a number of reasons:

  1. The chef we co-opted to teach the salsa-making lessons was none other than Nikki Guererro of Hot Mama Salsa (the best salsa in Portland, Oregon.) Unsurprisingly, Nikki was a rock-star! She brought in all sorts of heirloom peppers from the farmer she works with on Sauvie Island who grows her specialty peppers. From sweet to hot-hot-hot, students tasted and used peppers they had never before tried in salsa.

dscn14252.All the tomatoes we used for the salsa were from the garden the Natural Sciences classes cultivated last year! For real seed to table!

3.We had really great visitors! Jillian Semaan and Danielle Lewis from the USDA were able to help clear garden beds and enjoy the salsa students made plus some Hot Mama hand-made non GMO white corn tortilla chips (to keep up their strength, of course). It is funds from a USDA grant that, in part, is making our ongoing partnership with Meek possible. There were also many great supporters from PPS: Nancy Bond, Korinna Wolf and Antonio Lopez. You can be there too–just watch this video!

4.Students…of course! It is always a joy to work with Meek students and our seed- to –culinary- skills- to- table salsa story was no exception. Our thanks to students, Mr. Ferguson and Principal Lorna Fast Buffalo Horse for their commitment to holistic learning of their students. dscn1436 dscn1437 dscn1434img_3941

What’s next?

Very innovative stuff!



Plan “No Matter What”: To return to Joe’s classes for another six or so chef visits. For three of these visits students will use their chef-led classes to prepare a food item that will be served side-by-side other lunch items on the cafeteria line. For the other three visits, the chef will lead students in preparing healthy grab and go items that will be available students experiencing food insecurity.

Plan “If We Find the Dollars”: We would love to make the “students cooking for students” model something we could partner with Meek on for the rest of the school year. There are a couple of grants we are hoping for to make this happen.

If you would like to support our ongoing work, please make a donation via our website. Or send us a message, we would love to hear how your suggestions for how we can fund this rich partnership.