Turning Asphalt Into EcosystemsFri 18 Oct 2013
Story by Jenny Blakeney
The Garden School Foundation (GSF) is providing garden based learning in low income neighborhoods, and “turning asphalt into ecosystems”.
I met Christine, the 24th Street School Coordinator, at the SoLA Co-op Festival about a month ago. Christine invited me to come to a “workday” at the garden, and I brought my son, James, with me to check it out. We drove down to South LA, pulled into the school’s parking lot, and I was a bit unsure what exactly to expect amidst all of this concrete.
Changing Kid’s Live and Our Food World
I was amazed to see that GSF and its students had turned this acre of asphalt into a huge, beautiful, and fruitful garden. Each winding path led us to another area with more fruit trees, vegetable patches and spaces just to relax and enjoy the surroundings. We watched the kids weed, harvest, and we got our hands in on a little of the action too. If this were not inspiring enough, after the kids finished gardening, they all sat down with one of the teachers, Kathryn, to learn more about what they had just accomplished. They were learning to grow food, to work together, and literally, to reap their rewards. The kids were talking fruits and veggies, and chowing down. It was awesome to see. At the table, one of the boys said “we are getting so many vitamins today”. Um, I’d say that was an understatement. These kids were getting vitamins today, but they were also getting an education in gardening, science, the environment, cooking, and it was all topped off with a full belly of real food.
This foundation started with a small eager community, neighborhood council, garden clubs, and some amazing leaders, like 2nd grade teacher Linda Slater, 24th street school principal Yongpyo Grace Yoon, and Nancy Silverton of La Brea bakery. The foundation has grown with some amazing local support and partners: Groundwork Coffee, McGrath Family Farms, Native Foods, The Honest Company, Pitfire Pizza, Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, and Share our Strength, just to name a few.
On Oct. 27th they are hosting Harvest Moon, a fundraiser with Evan Kleiman (KCRW), and Cooks Country. The event will have live music, scavenger hunt, auction, and special crafted dishes and drinks from some of LA’s best restaurants. To get tickets for the event or ways you can volunteer, go to http://www.gardenschoolfoundation.org/.
If it is not obvious ;) this foundation is changing these kids’ lives and changing our food world. They have implemented a new program to educate and empower children in low-income schools. Learning how to grow their own food, learning new recipes and how to cook, gives them the knowledge and skills for a lifetime of healthy eating.
About the Author: Jenny grew up in Texas and her real food awakening began during pregnancy a few years ago. As a Food Revolution Ambassador, she is passionately spreading the word that our small decisions can make big changes in our health, our food system and our environment. She is a mother of two toddlers, and has called Los Angeles home for over 10 years. Through her blog, Real Local Mindful Food, she is discovering all of the artisans, farmers, entrepreneurs, teachers, gardeners, parents, kids and chefs growing this real food movement.
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