Friday, September 21, 2007

Preserving and Sustaining School Gardens

On Tuesday September 25th, the Board of Education will be considering the “Preserving and Sustaining School Gardens” motion which I co-authored with Board Members Julie Korenstein and Tamar Galatzan.

In recent years, there has been growing support for school gardens, culminating in the passage of AB1535 which is providing funding for 526 school gardens throughout LAUSD this year. Schools gardens are powerful instructional tools when incorporated into the curriculum. They provide children access to physical activity and fresh, healthy food, and they provide valuable opportunities for community building.

The motion directs the Superintendent to support the preservation of existing school gardens and encourages the use of gardens as outdoor laboratories for instruction. It also asks the Superintendent to promote the use of school garden produce through tastings, and by allowing Associated Student Bodies to sell items grown in school gardens.

Many schools in Board District 4 have very successful school gardens. For example, Webster Middle School does a great job of incorporating their garden into the curriculum – a 6th grade teacher grows papyrus in the garden and incorporates garden activities when students are learning about Egypt!

Richland Avenue Elementary has formed a great partnership with Urban Farming to donate the produce grown in their beautiful garden to the Westside Food Bank in Santa Monica. Last week I participated in an event when they also partnered with volunteers from the William Morris Agency to make improvements to the garden. The fourth grade class also participated in the event by building compost pillars!

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