Seven Arrows Elementary Edible GardenMon 30 Jan 2012
Story by Omid Kheiltash
Seven Arrows is committed to being a Green School and an emblem for urban gardening in schools nationwide.
Seven Arrows has, since its inception, been linked to Green initiatives and healthy eating and planting of edible fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Thanks to founding families and educators dedicated to cultivating health- and environmentally-conscious children, we have had a long tradition of immersing our students in learning about the cycle of food from planting to enjoying what we eat.
Former Seven Arrows parent, master chef, and food revolutionary, Jamie Oliver, re-energized our efforts last year through his motivational presence on campus and vision to kick start a worldwide change in the way we think about food and the way food systems work – from production to distribution, and finally, to cooking and eating what we grow.
Jamie’s strategy to initiate this worldwide change starts by changing the United States’ relationship with food, with the goal that the world will follow our example. Seven Arrows Elementary eagerly took on this challenge last spring to be at the forefront of the movement that will spark the change within Los Angeles, and eventually beyond.
Our Edible Garden is an incredibly alive and relevant outdoor classroom, with student learning integrated into science, Service Learning, Spanish, math, global cultural learning, and so much more! Students plant, harvest, cook, and feast on the “fruits” of their labor through an experiential, hands-on approach that will lay a lifelong imprint on their relationship to food and their natural environment.
When you walk into our school, Wooly Pocket gardens brimming with plants, herbs, and vegetables abound on virtually every outdoor wall and walk way. The Wooly Pockets maximize planting potential and are one of several exemplary ideas to be emulated by other organizations in urban areas. You may also wish to test your knowledge of fruit trees as you stroll through the campus. (Beautiful signs will aid you if you need to take a peek!) Edible plants greet you from even before you enter the campus and surround you in every outdoor space.
All the incredible work around the Seven Arrows Edible Garden would not have been possible without the commitments of our parent community. Many families have eagerly joined with not just monetary support, but also, with the sweat of their own labor, from architectural design, gardening, donations of plants and herbs, creations of recipes, aesthetic signage, and so much more. As with so many other successful efforts at Seven Arrows, with the power of our community behind us, we have been able to achieve exceptional things.
Our Edible Garden program is a beautiful compliment to many other Green and health initiatives on campus. After all, we believe in coming full circle for the sake of maximizing our students’ experiences, and we can only do so if we commit to a complete Green cultural immersion. Seven Arrows currently implements the following:
• Conservation & Green energy initiatives
• Recycling and natural worm composting on campus
• Sugar-free campus since the school’s inception
• Environmental Outdoor Education programs for all grades
• Science program that emphasizes environmental sustainability
• Service Learning projects that support environmental efforts
• Zero-waste campus
In this way, the link between academic, health, global and Green curricula integrate to make learning meaningful, relevant and above all, joyful. Please swing by and see for yourself all that our Edible Garden has to offer! Or, click here for Seven Arrows link to see photos of our green-thumbed students in action and sketches of our gardens.
About the author: Omid Kheiltash is the Admissions Director at Seven Arrows School
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