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Photo of Robeson Tomato

Special thanks to the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative for this update:

On Martin Luther King Day, Princeton Public Schools hosted a Robeson Teach In and Curriculum Exchange at Princeton Middle School (PMS). Joy Barnes-Johnson – PPS Science Supervisor and Paul Robeson House of Princeton board member – helped organize a breakout session on the Robeson Tomato.

During the breakout session, PMS Science Teacher Torie Esposito and Edible Gardens Stewards Deb Gries led a room full of educators and partners through possible ways to teach students about Paul Robeson and the Robeson Tomato. Below is just a snapshot of what we learned:

Paul Robeson spent a lot of time in Russia, and the Robeson Tomato is a tomato of Russian origin that is named in his honor. It is an heirloom, open pollinated breed. The tomato plant grows to 6 feet tall, with 10oz fruit offered in the late summer and early fall. The tomato is described as distinctive, sweet, and smoky in flavor.

Later this winter, the Paul Robeson House of Princeton is going to be distributing Paul Robeson Tomato seeds to students in schools and interested families in our community. The goal of the project is to create Freedom Gardens across our town in honor of Paul Robeson. 

Here is a rough timeline of the Paul Robeson Freedom Gardens project:

  • End of February: interested folks will receive tomato seeds 

  • March 22: start tomato seeds inside

  • April 15: transplant tomato seedlings to bigger pots

  • May 5: start hardening the tomato plants off

  • May 15: transplant tomato plants outside

  • September: Harvest Festival in Princeton!

We are excited to see the Paul Robeson Tomato grow in PPS Edible Gardens, and we hope you and your community will be a part of this timely project! Please contact the Paul Robeson House of Princeton to sign up.


Photo of Robeson Tomato


photo showing some of the participants in the MLK Day of Service and Robeson Tomato event


photo of Dr. Barnes-Johnson during MLK day of service

 Top: Princeton Public Schools Edible Gardens Steward Deb Gries at the Teach-In at Princeton Middle School. Middle: Participants in the Robeson Tomato breakout session hear from Torie Esposito, PMS Science Teacher. Bottom: Participants hear from Joy Barnes-Johnson during the Robeson Teach-In and Curriculum Exchange at Princeton Middle School.

About Princeton School Gardens Cooperative

Princeton School Gardens Cooperative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that fosters equitable garden- and food-based education in the classroom, cafeteria, and community. We use local and seasonal food to connect students to their own bodies, to each other, to their families and communities, to classroom curriculum, and to the world – and the future – we share. Learn more.



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