EnrichLA- A Garden in EVERY School!

submission by shanaenrichla
EnrichLA- A Garden in EVERY School!

Organization Name

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EnrichLA

Website

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www.enrichla.org

Indicator

Please select the one indicator that is most relevant to your project or organization: Environmental Quality

What is your idea and how will it impact your indicator?

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Our idea is simple: A Garden in EVERY School.

Over the last 2 years EnrichLA has installed gardens of all types in schools throughout Los Angeles County, from the West Side of Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley. We will continue our work, building more gardens in schools throughout Los Angeles, focusing on low-income and under-served neighborhoods.

School gardens benefit students and communities in a variety of ways. The most immediate impact for these children is that after our school garden build, students have instant access to green outdoor spaces. Areas that were formerly unused parking lots or asphalt slabs are now transformed into lush and inviting gardens.

In addition to improved aesthetics, these outdoor spaces can, over time, impact the health and wellness of children and their surrounding community. Air quality will be improved, leading to a lower cancer risk from air toxicity, and an increased exposure to the natural world will lead to a higher level of environmental stewardship. With this new exposure and education, students will learn how to implement changes in their daily life that reduce waste, energy consumption, and pollution. The gardens also act as catalysts to show students just how versatile, delicious, and fun healthy food can be, developing positive attitudes toward healthy food and increasing consumption of those foods. The startling obesity statistics in Metro Los Angeles alone demonstrate a strong need for this kind of program.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

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In less than two years as a designated non-profit organization, EnrichLA has built over 35 school gardens. These gardens range from 1 acre farms, to wildlands schoolyard habitats, to reading gardens, or small edible raised beds. Our school gardens are inexpensive. They are built on a shoe-string budget using the power of community volunteers to fuel these massive transformations.

In addition to building school gardens, we have also provided “Home and Garden Economics” programs at many of these schools. With this program, our garden stewards plant seedlings with students and provide regular maintenance to the garden. Once these fresh fruits and vegetables are ready to be harvested, students prepare healthy snacks in their outdoor kitchen. Throughout this process students are learning about science, life-cycles, composting, the importance of recycling, and they are developing a hands-on relationship to the source of their food.

We have seen middle school students enthusiastically exclaim that beets are their new favorite vegetable. In surveys, students demonstrated that after the garden program they not only ate more fruits and vegetables, but also had more fruits and vegetables available to them in the home, suggesting that the impact goes further than just the classroom. At one school, the edible school garden program was the catalyst for a new “environmental magnet” program and has been credited as one key component in the improvement of overall test scores on the campus.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

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EnrichLA has partnered with organizations such as Whole Foods Markets, Gay for Good, Fox Gives, Kaiser Permanente, The Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Tree People and others to build school gardens and provide school garden programming throughout Los Angeles.

We will continue to nurture these partnerships and seek out additional collaborators who share our goal of enriching the lives of children and contributing to a healthier, happier Los Angeles.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

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There are both short and long term evaluations that will take place in order to determine the success and necessary revisions to our project.

In the short term, we will survey students and staff before and after their involvement in the garden. We will track changes in access to fresh, healthy foods, the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed per day, attitudes toward environmental responsibility, as well as time spent in the garden or in outdoor classroom settings.

We will also collect and analyze data from sources such as the LA County Department of Public Health to determine the long term positive effects of school garden education, by evaluating changes in obesity and diabetes rates, and improvement in air quality and access to parks.

Success would mean more children having access to green outdoor spaces, and more teachers utilizing these spaces for classes. Success would be an improvement in health due to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and a healthier attitude toward overall wellness.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles? Please be specific.

Our project will benefit Los Angeles by bringing edible gardens into schools. These gardens cheer up communities, improve campus morale, and act as outdoor classrooms. For many students, these school gardens are their only access to green, outdoor spaces in their neighborhood. By improving the environmental quality of their surroundings, children are more likely to succeed. We have seen first-hand how access to edible gardens can improve test scores and community involvement.

Additionally, these gardens address the serious problem of obesity and obesity related diseases among our residents.

According to the CDC, 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will contract diabetes in their lifetime. If that child is either Hispanic or Black, the odds of this happening is increased to 1 in 2. In response to the staggering childhood obesity statistics, the Center for Disease Control states that:

"Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors"

Our school gardens directly address this issue, not by forcing children to eat healthy food, but by encouraging them through access and education.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

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For EnrichLA, success would be defined as a healthier, happier Los Angeles. Children in the most urban, asphalt covered areas of Los Angeles would have access to green, outdoor spaces. They would grow up learning about healthy, natural foods, and they would have access to these foods not only in the home, but in the classroom as well. They would be inspired to learn about the natural world- not forced. This education would lead to improved health, test scores, and a sense of community and environmental responsibility.

Currently, 1.6 million children in Los Angeles County do not have access to parks. Our school gardens change that, and in 2050 our goal would be for all children, particularly those in low-income, at risk and under-served neighborhoods of Los Angeles, to have access to green outdoor spaces. These spaces enrich the minds and bodies of children, their families, and the community as a whole.

Discussion
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thank you for making a difference at Cheremoya Elementary this last January! and so cool to see my own elementary school, Wilton Place, recently received some EnrichLA attention. Tomas and team, you are the best! really!

by renatak
over 1 year ago | Reply

Volunteering with EnrichLA was a rewarding, incredible experience. Seeing kids eat artichokes, cabbage, and other fruits and veggies and LOVING THEM is an indescribable feeling. Can't wait to come home from college in a month to get back to work in the gardens!!!!

by alyssa7777
over 1 year ago | Reply

Cant wait to have you back, Alyssa!! Thank you!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

I volunteered on two projects with this organization, and loved the wonderful work they do, besides the way they get community, parents, students and employees of corporations to work together. This is a most amazing positive program! Bravo to enrichla.org !!

by clara.aburto.5
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much!! We hope to see you at another event in the future!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

Your work in my school was awesome in demonstrating teamwork community involvement.
Thanks so very much.

by greenthumb
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank YOU! We love to see people from all walks of life coming together to transform these campuses.

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

Gardens are awesome. I hear nothing but good about EnrichLA. Hope you guys get it!

by danielvenz828
over 1 year ago | Reply

EnrichLA rocks

by yaygardens
over 1 year ago | Reply

Yay EnrichLA. Such amazing work done by amazing people! Volunteering has been a blast so far. I can't wait to see it get even bigger and reach schools outside of Los Angeles. A GARDEN IN EVERY SCHOOL!

by haileyenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

Volunteering with EnrichLA is amazing! They do awesome work, the renovation of these gardens is remarkable. Being able to eat healthy food is something that kids need more than anything else.

by hannah.kelley.92
over 1 year ago | Reply

It's great what EnrichLA is doing for our schools. I'm happily proud of the experience my children are getting. Knowing where food actually comes from not just the supermarkets. Keep growing LA!

by MaCa69
over 1 year ago | Reply

I'm happy to know that my son was part of the Gardening at Woodlawn Elementary!! Thank you EnrichLA

by mireya925
over 1 year ago | Reply

We used to have something like this, 4H clubs that worked with animals and plants in the schools, it was an effort to retain mental as well as physical health while staying connected to the land as families moved from farms and ranches and in to the cities. I wish we could restore some of that, this is a great idea.

by TrailCrew
over 1 year ago | Reply

Volunteering with EnrichLA was a heartwarming and rewarding experience. This little organization is doing big things in Los Angeles and I look forward to seeing a garden built in every school!

by benhpham
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for volunteering with us! As you know, we accomplish a lot in a short amount of time and its all because of committed volunteers like you!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

I agree

by justine.ogrady.9
over 1 year ago | Reply

LOVE what EnrichLA is doing!!!!
ALLways real supportive of Gardens and Kids and Kids & Gardens...
We are doing a shared space Community Garden & Student Garden - Emerson Avenue Community Garden at Orville Wright Middle School in Westchester!
It is A BLAST!!!

by Tomwalked
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for sharing!! Yes its not only fun but educational as well. There are SO many positive aspects of school gardens!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

A WINNING concept run by DOERS who mean what they say and get it done!

by jwalker536@sbcglobal.net
over 1 year ago | Reply

These schools are so deserving of programs EnrichLA can provide. A unique non-profit pioneering for those that need the resourcces the most!

by garden girl
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you! We definitely focus our efforts on low-income and under-served communities of Los Angeles and we cant wait to continue our work through 2050 and beyond!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

Teach kids to grow their own food and they will eat it! Fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables- I do this at our school and it works!

by CJoe66
over 1 year ago | Reply

That is awesome, and thank you for the support! Yes it is an amazing sight to see children EXCITED about foods like beets, bok choy, and kale! Because they are planting, tending and harvesting these foods, they have a deep connection to them and are thrilled to eat them! Here's to building a healthier, happier LA!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

EnrichLA = results. From the get go & long after. You see it on day 1 of project build with teams of volunteers clamoring behind Tomas O

by ms.lola.lee
over 1 year ago | Reply

As you know, our amazing volunteers are the force behind what we accomplish! Thank you for being a part of the team!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

Amazing initiative!

by speedhakoo
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you!!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

Teaching kids responsibility for their lives, their health, their planet, their school and helping to feed their minds and mouths?! Sounds like a win-win-win-win.

by roth2738
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you, we agree! School gardens effect so much more than Environmental Quality. They truly transform attitudes about health, community, and the wellness of our planet. Thank you for the support!!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

EnrichLA is truly amazing due to its uniqueness. It works wonders and really transforms the way students see the environment and really connect with it!
The time I

by haileyloveskillers
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you so much for the kind words, Hailey!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

EnrichLA is an amazing little organization smack dab in the middle of LA. I spent a summer venturing into treacherously hot parts of the innercity to plant gardens before school got back into session. And I really had the most amazing time. Not only does EnrichLA promote the fun of working with your hands, you get delicious, colorful and tantalizing foods to go along with it! And that was the least of it, it was unquestionably amazing to see kids who normally wouldn

by jked
over 1 year ago | Reply

Thank you for sharing your experience! It is truly a wonderful feeling to get hot, tired, and dirty in a garden, all for a good cause :) Thank you for the support! A GARDEN IN EVERY SCHOOL!

by shanab
over 1 year ago | Reply

Enrich LA does incredible work. It gives the youth of this city the opportunity to reconnect with their food source, become environmental stewards, and discover leadership possibilities in themselves. I have seen firsthand the positive attitude changes these gardens bring about in young kids and inspiring a garden can be to a community.

by Bordeaux
over 1 year ago | Reply

EnrichLA allows students, teachers and the school community opportunities to connect with the natural world, grow their own fresh produce and, in a time when creativity is being stripped from the classroom, expand their educational experiences. Our gardens and interdisciplinary curriculum offer a unique opportunity for LA to become a healthier, greener and more sustainable city for generations to come.

by liz.mcallister.16
over 1 year ago | Reply

It is such a heartwarming experience to see children excited to get their hands dirty and work hard in the gardens! Lets give every child in LA the opportunity to THRIVE!

by shanaenrichla
over 1 year ago | Reply

Pink-ribbon-award-box-icon
Award_topvotedidea
$1,000,000 in total grants
Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-submission-inactive

Submission Began
Tuesday, February 26

Submission Ended
Thursday, March 28
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Tuesday, April 02

Voting Ended
Wednesday, April 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address

Winner Announced
Wednesday, May 08

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