EnrichLA is a community wellness non-profit organization that builds edible gardens in local schools, focusing on low-income and underserved neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Over the last two 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. These school gardens range from 1 acre wildlands habitats and farms, to reading gardens, or small edible raised beds. School gardens transform unused parking lots and asphalt slabs into lush, inviting gardens, where students are able to learn in an active, outdoor environment. School gardens improve air quality, increase exposure to the natural world, encourage environmental stewardship, and positively impact health and eating habits of students and the surrounding community. These gardens act as catalysts to show students just how versatile, delicious, and FUN healthy food can be, developing positive attitudes toward healthy, fresh food and increasing consumption of these foods. The startling obesity statistics in Metro Los Angeles alone demonstrate a strong need for this programming.
In the Los Angeles Metro Area, 26% of children in grades 5, 7 and 9 are obese. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 children born in year 2000 will contract diabetes in their lifetime, and if that child is either Hispanic or Black, the odds of this happening are increased to 1 in 2. School gardens change that. With our “Garden Ranger” program, students develop a connection to the source of their food, encouraging (not forcing) them to make healthier decisions. Through this program, experienced EnrichLA Garden Rangers maintain the garden space and provide place-based learning opportunities for students, offering lesson plans with topics such as nutrition, healthy living, gardening, and environmental stewardship. These garden classes help students establish an immediate connection between the process of growing fruits and vegetables and consuming these foods in our outdoor kitchens. Weekly cooking workshops allow children to try healthy foods that they may not have been exposed to otherwise. With these gardens, the classroom is given local focus, tangible results, and involvement in inquiry-based education.
The need for open, green spaces is also a concern for children living in Los Angeles. Currently, 1.6 million children in Los Angeles County do not have access to parks. For many students, our 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.
See our wonderful team here!
56 gardens and green spaces in the last 2.5 years | a typical cost of a standard edible garden with sprinklers is $6,500 | Larger projects ( $15,000) include asphalt removal and dry creeks | the bulk of the labor for projects is un-paid volunteer labor | We carry liability and workers compensation insurance | We handle all aspects of permitting and we utilize a full tool trailer to construct and install sprinklers, wooden raised beds, seating and fences | 12 new gardens scheduled for 2014 | Waiting list = 15 schools
Currently in 24 Schools | Weekly ( 4 hour) visits by rangers include maintenance + planting+ troubleshooting of the school gardens and classes with the students | Curriculum tied to common core | typical cost = $6,900 per school per school year | school typically pays between 40% to 75% of cost with balance paid through fundraising and grants.
Progressive designs for bridges and other public spaces | Cleaning trailer to help schools clean themselves (chewing gum is the # 1 problem) | public policy issues including plastic bag ban and livable streets.
- Liability waiver (English) for garden participants
- Liability waiver (Spanish) for garden participants
- Garden build sign in sheet for garden participants
- Los Angeles Unified Schools media release form for students (English)
- Los Angeles Unified Schools media release form for students (Spanish)
- IRS 501 c3 determination letter
- City of Los Angeles B.T.R.C
- Court Appointed Community Service Hours Log
- Court Appointed Community Service Agreement
- Community Service Hours
- Articles of Incorporation
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.