Garden School Foundation

We provide garden-based education at public schools in LA. By combining gardening, sustainability, and cooking classes, we harness the full potential of school gardens, helping children learn to care for their bodies, their communities, and the earth. We serve 7 Title I elementary schools, reaching over 3,000 students and their families a year.


2 Submitted Ideas

  • LIVE ·2021 Grants Challenge

    Cafeteria to Compost: Fighting Food Waste and Food Insecurity

    Cafeteria to Compost teaches students how to combat both food insecurity and climate change through the simple, daily practice of sharing, redistributing, and composting leftover items from their lunches. Our program shows how school composting can increase fresh food access, reduce food waste, drive climate action, and provide jobs for parents. A grant from LA2050 would help us expand to a second school site with a new team of parents and demonstrate the model for LAUSD more broadly.

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    Asphalt to Apples: Sprouting Healthy Kids and Gardens

    The Garden School Foundation (GSF) has a vision of a Los Angeles community where every child grows, cooks, and eats fresh local produce every day of their lives - in school! Angelinos should capitalize on our most famous characteristic - fabulous weather - to cultivate a city and county with green space and a bountiful harvest accessible to everyone. In partnership with the Farm to Preschool program at the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College, which focuses on the early childhood years, we propose the following multi-pronged idea to get us there: 1) Build the capacity of entire school communities to support the growth of healthy children through County-wide trainings for teachers, parents, and community volunteers to build the skills necessary to maximize the potential of gardens, thus transforming eating habits for a lifetime. 2) Create the first LA School Garden Network Resource website. While innovative school garden programs exist in the LA region, our urban sprawl tends to isolate programs and schools. We propose to gather, share and leverage our resources to create a force of sustainable change in the region. 3) Host a county-wide school garden forum and resource fair to gather teachers and garden advocates to celebrate the wonderful work happening while inspiring and supporting others to transform their own schools to include outdoor learning environments. By working with and learning from each other we can cultivate a community that will nourish and support the growth of the whole child. Currently, children in LA, particularly those from low income and historically underserved communities of color, suffer from poor health due in part to the debilitating effects of obesity, often stemming from an unbalanced diet lacking fresh fruits and vegetables. Obesity rates in preschool-aged children enrolled in WIC (Women, Infants and Children) in LA are over 22% among Latino children and over 15% of Black children. The link between obesity and low access to healthy food in “food deserts,” among other indicators, is well proven. Furthermore, we know that if children are eating more fresh fruits and veggies they have a lower risk of developing obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, with health effects that could stay with them their entire lives. The good news is that recent studies have shown that if children grow their own food, they are more likely to eat it, a fact that many teachers and parents can testify to firsthand. Given LA’s ideal conditions for growing food and a plethora of unused school land, we can ensure that every child has the opportunity of the benefits of growing fresh food as an integral part of their Prek-5th grade education. This would transform the school and preschool landscape from asphalt to apples -and the hundreds of other fruits and vegetables kids can grow! We propose to cultivate the conditions that will enable every child in LA to grow up having the knowledge, support, and resources at their fingertips to become healthy, connected, and activated adults. This will create a continuum and community of learning from the preschool years through elementary school, using schools as the most obvious setting for change. Our idea builds on the important work that’s already being done and sets the stage for transformative change on a county-wide scale through capacity-building, networking and resource sharing. 1. Capacity-building Preschool and elementary school teachers will be trained on age-appropriate core standards-based nutrition, garden curricula from GSF (Seed to Table) or UEPI (Farm to Preschool’s Harvest of the Month), and basic gardening skills. These curricula effectively link core learning standards such as math, literacy and science to gardens and local healthy food in a school-based setting. In addition, parent workshops will focus on home gardening, affordable healthy foods, empowering parents to find their voice and advocate for healthier food at schools. Community volunteers will be trained in school garden curricula, garden management best practices, and be connected to existing resources. 2. Los Angeles School Garden Network website This website will be designed to focus on school garden resources in the LA region, as well as providing up to date information on events and giveaways, and an online forum for parents, teachers and volunteers to communicate and share best practices, challenges, resources, and advice. 3. School Garden Forum A school garden forum will culminate the school year to bring together all preschool-grade 5 schools with gardens as well as those inspired to start their own programs. This forum will host speakers, discussion roundtables, showcase gardens, programs and resources, provide skill building cooking demos and provide the type of interaction and capacity-building movement in Los Angeles that is sorely lacking

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