EDITOR: Thank you for your piece on the Bodega Red potato ("Sonoma County potato reborn," Wednesday). Thanks to Slow Food, which contributes heirloom vegetables to school gardens around Sonoma County, the Bodega Red is growing at the Boys and Girls Club in Cloverdale. When the potatoes mature and the children harvest them, our committee of six women dedicated to showing children where their food comes from and how it grows will lead a cooking session, in which a few of the children will assist in preparing a variation on the potato salad recipe presented in the article.
Other heirloom vegetables growing in the garden are Sibley squash, moon and stars watermelon and Brandywine tomatoes, sudduth strain.
The children love working in the garden and in the kitchen. These experiences will give them a truer picture of where food comes from than just "from the store." When we grow, care for, harvest and prepare food we have grown ourselves, there is a sense of completeness and accomplishment that is truly satisfying.
<b>Charters and choice</b>
EDITOR: Wikipedia says that "charter schools are attended by choice . . . and provide an alternative to other public schools." But there's a loophole, and even small districts such as the Oak Grove Union School District with one elementary school and one middle school can elect to become a charter. The result is resident parents have no choice but to enroll their kids in Oak Grove School or transfer out of the district. So where is our choice?
Our school is now open to anyone from any district, resulting in a loss of community and a lot of extra driving for parents when playdates may be anywhere from Forestville to Cotati. Nearby districts are suffering from the loss in enrollment.
If you are a parent who believes in preparing children to be competitive in the world by stressing a core curriculum over an arts-based curriculum in elementary school, you're not out of luck. You just have to find another district.