Field reports from

Academic Leadership Community School

The garden was built in the summer of 2015. It contains one big garden area and a drip irrigation system.

Delicious Harvest at ALC

Today we harvested some winter veggies at ALC. Among the veggies we picked were beets and celery. We left some beets in the ground to harvest the greens over the summer. We left some celery so it will self seed, saving us effort in the fall. We saw a big freaky spider too!

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Spring Colors at ALC

As spring arrives, the colors of the garden are shining. Bright swiss chard, sage flowers, and purple mustard look beautiful. We planted corn, squash, and tomatoes today.

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Fruit, flowers, and rain at ALC

The rain is bringing out beautiful colors at ALC. The poppies are blooming and the red and green lettuce looks great. The banana tree is soaking in the extra water. Today we planted asparagus and strawberry crowns.

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ALC Rooftop Garden

The ALC rooftop garden is booming. As we transition to spring, the nasturtiums are in full bloom. We still have some squash hanging on from last summer. Borage attracts bees, adds soil fertility, and provides edible leaves and flowers.

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Planting and harvest at ALC

ALC has a beautiful garden. It gets lots of sun and everything thrives. Poppies, nasturtiums, and onions are all looking their best.

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Colorful Harvest at ALC

We harvested lots of beautiful veggies at ALC today. Purple mustard, vibrant tatsoi cabbage, nasturtiums, beet greens, curly kale. These look amazing and taste even better.

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Amazing harvest at ALC

We had an incredible harvest today at ALC. We got huge heads of cabbage, an array of chard, beets, leeks, and mustard. We also planted a lot of heirloom seeds and starts. The students here truly love the garden!

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Purple potatoes, giant pumpkins, and great growth at ALC

The most exciting harvest of the day at ALC was our purple potatoes. We will sprout and replant them for an exponential harvest! Our cabbage, beets, kale, comfrey, and borage are all booming and the students all got to take home some harvest. We planted giant pumpkins which we hope will grow even though its…

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Big workday and lots of growth at ALC

The rooftop garden at ALC is looking great. Today we put in more wood chips for a pathway. We installed signs that the students decorated. Beans, squash, carrots, potatoes, borage, beets, and peas are all growing quickly!

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Beets,onions, and cuttings at ALC

Today we learned to take cuttings, which is when we create a new plant out of a part of an existing mature plant. We also transplanted aloe pups and planted more onions and beets. It was a nice cool day on the rooftop! j

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ALC garden is heating up!

The weather is cooling but the garden is burning up with life. We got beets, peas, herbs, and flowers in the ground, as well as compost to amend the soil. Lots of interesting fauna in the garden today!

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Academic Leadership Center

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Gardening and Growing Together

The students at ALC have been putting a lot of work in to their garden and it is starting to pay off! The students have made progress on creating a pathway. The goal is to put some type of brick or pavers down maybe put in some DG to create a nice flow in and…

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Small Steps, Giant Leaps

The garden at ALC is under full Renovation. After clearing, designing, crafting and building (and waiting for the heat waves to pass) this coming Tuesday the garden is ready for planting!! What was once support for summer tomatoes to grow is now going to be used to have winter peas climb Trying out a different…

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Planning for a mural at ALC garden

At the start of class, we spent time designing a mural to be approved by administration to paint on the wall adjacent to the garden. One idea we liked was to have the mural in the perspective of an insect, having a drawing of large plants so that they would be bigger than the people…

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Putting our research to work!

After researching different design concepts last week, students of ALC got to work on getting their garden ready for renovation.    

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Planning for the Future

At ALC we have been working on creating a concept design for our garden space. In class, we took advantage of having in class laptops and got to researching. The students were to look up different design concepts to create their dream garden. The two focus areas of the day were to look for vertical…

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Beautifying the ALC Garden

The past two weeks students have been hard at work cleaning up the garden at ALCMC! On the to do list we have clearing out weeds, getting rid of last seasons over grown crops, revamping the compost pile, fixing old signage and adding new signs. After putting some hard work in the garden everyone looks…

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Seedling starting lab.Week 12.

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Getting Student Ready at Miguel Contreras

Our garden under the gaze of downtown has loved this summer heat! It is very lush and full. Today we spent the day clearing, getting ready for the students to return and our fall planting. We can’t wait for the students to see how well their garden has done over summer break. And, we are…

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ALCMC – Spring Showcase

Hello Garden Friends, I am so proud of my students. They were on time, well-prepared, and spoke with passion to their fellow students – representing their garden and the hard work that they and the rest of their classmates had put in this year. As you can see in the featured photo, the students lined…

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ALCMC – Practice Makes Perfect

Hello Garden Friends, The final countdown begins and next week is the big showcase! Today we finished up our powerpoint slides and even got around to practicing the performance for one another. I’m so proud of these students, it was really heartwarming to look back on our progress and hear what they remember about the experience….

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ALCMC – Spring Showcase Prep

Hello Garden Friends, Not much to write about this week. We spent all the class period working on our group presentations.. I fear we are still not ready – only time will tell. Getting humans to work together is never easy. Getting humans that have special needs, speak different languages, and come and go throughout the…

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ALCMC – Herb Bouquets

Hello Garden Friends, Yesterday at Miguel Contreras we spent most of the class time preparing ourselves for the May 24th Spring showcase – talking about all of the things we did over the past year and which activities our participants would enjoy the most. Not to give too much away but we decided we would…

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ALCMC – Cleanup for Dinner

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALCMC I had lots of extra students that Mr. Herrmann sent my way. At the end of the year it seems that everyone needs to hurry up and complete their hours. Anyhow, I introduced the 15-20 new students to my class by doing a chat about systems and the human…

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ALCMC – Goodbye Papaya :(

Hello Garden Friends, Today was a sad day, we had to pull down our papaya tree because it had died. The autopsy report showed a severe case of rotten roots. Papayas do not need very much water and unfortunately the district’s maintenance people had reset the sprinklers (turning them on) so that the quad’s newly…

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ALCMC – Spring rolls!

Hello Garden Friends. Last Tuesday at ALMC we made spring rolls! Served with a homemade peanut sauce the snacks were a huge hit! I brought my camping stove and steamed the beets for the maximum yummy factor. I always love balancing some of the garden work with cooking lessons. I mean, why grow food if…

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ALCMC – Spring Cleaning

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALCMC we did a little spring cleaning – pulling out weeds/ old kale, deadheading flowers and making room for our squash and tomato plants. The lesson for today had to do with pruning. For example, by cutting off the dead flowers, the plant focuses its energy away from seed production…

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ALCMC – Harvest Time

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALMC we spent the first half of class answering questions as a team for our grant progess report. One of the questions asked the students to share a thought about their experiences in the garden. Here are two that warmed my heart: “Hard works pays off” – Juan (age…

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ALCMC- Cooking demo and Succulents

Hello Garden Friends! Today, Farmer Jeff decided to do a cooking demo with the purple potatoes that the kids planted in the Fall! We harvested kale, onions, rosemary, and broccoli for our stir fry. Not only did we do a cooking demo today, we were also able to plant succulents that I had brought as…

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ALCMC – Spring Planting

Hello Garden Friends! Spring is in the air! I can tell because my allergies are acting up :p This week at ALCMC we finished hooking up the drip irrigation and planted a bunch of warm season crops. Heirloom tomatoes? Yup! Zucchinis, Cucumbers? We got em! Cilantro? Oh yeah, don’t you worry… I bought starts to…

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ALCMC – Herb Spiral Renovation

Hello Garden Friends, Last Tuesday at ALCMC the leadership development class broke ground on a new project. The herb spiral outside the ALC office! This area looks like at one point someone put some serious love into this space. Now, we restore. Starting with water, we ran polytubing around the spiral and learned to augment the…

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ALCMC – Harvest Thyme!

Hello Garden Friends! Last Tuesday the Enrich LA leadership development team got to taste the fruits, or mainly leaves, of their labors. We harvested, beets, lettuce, kale, and the last of the snap peas. We also planted tomato and squash seeds in the areas we removed full lettuce heads. I brought some red wine vinegar…

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ALCMC – Planting Pole Beans

Hello Garden Friends, Good news moving forward with the living wall restoration! The plant manager placed a work order to have the irrigation to the wall turned back on! The good news inspired our students to finish up their donation letters and then we went upstairs to work in the garden. Our snap peas were…

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ALCMC – students in charge

Hello Garden Friends, Yesterday the students took the reigns. The last few weeks we have been brainstorming – forming proposals on how we can build our program while maintaining the existing garden. The students presentations focused on restoring the succulent wall and replanting the small garden outside the ALC office. After the presentations, the students…

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Miguel Contreras – Showcase Preparations

Hello Garden Friends, Our garden at ALCMC is officially ready for showcase! The weeds are pulled, the pathways are woodchipped, and we got veggies popping out of the ground! The students worked hard over the last few months! Today, armed with recycled cardboard from the school’s dumpster and some markers and art supplies from home,…

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Miguel Contreras – Chayote

Hello Garden Friends, Last Tuesday, I planted some sprouting Chayote with my students. Chayote is an edible plant belonging to the squash family Cucurbitaceae. Never having grown it before, I rose to the challenge in order to accommodate a couple students who just arrived from El Salvador and speak predominantly Spanish. When I asked them…

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Miguel Contreras – Bamboo Trellis

Hello Garden Friends, This Tuesday at the Miguel Contreras, we built a bamboo fence for our peas vs. beans project. Let me first say, the only thing that feels better than building a bamboo trellis with a bunch of students…is being able to tell them that the bamboo was harvested locally and is no longer…

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Miguel Contreras – Painting Pavers

Hello Garden Friends, This Tuesday at ALCMC we painted some pavers and transplanted some baby scallions I started at home. The painting project was inspired by the need to get some of the special needs students engaged in something that would be immediately gratifying. Gardening is a challenge to many of us for many reasons….

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Miguel Contreras – Seeding

Hello Garden Friends, This Tuesday at the ALCMC we finally got to put some seeds in the ground. With our irrigation system running and the beds mulched with a healthy dose of cow manure the students were able to make some progress towards manifesting their seed calendars. In the picture above you can see a…

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Miguel Contreras – Irrigation Install

Hello Garden Friends! This Tuesday at the Academic Learning Center we updated our sprinkler system to a new and improved drip system! In the picture above you can see the amended beds draped in a three line drip system. Today was especially nice because Rangers Felipe and Nick were able to come and help me…

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Miguel Contreras – Seed Calendar

Hello Garden Friends! Today at ALCMC we did some crop planning. I started the lesson by sharing a seed calendar courtesy of urban of urbanorganicgardener.com. Through the website I was able to find the agricultural planting zone of the schools zip code (10b) and download a pdf file of all the plants you can start from…

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Academic Learning Community – Sacar yerbas malas

A new year brings new students and new energy into the program. Today, I introduced myself to the students in Spanish and delivered a lesson, with the help of Ms. L, also in Spanish. I was inspired to practice after learning that two of my students in the after school leadership development class spoke only…

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Showcase event at ALC

This past Tuesday was a very special day – all of the students from ALC were let out of school early to participate in the Leadership Development showcase event. At ALC, all students are required to fulfill a certain number of hours in a leadership class of their choosing in order to graduate. There are so…

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Spring at ALC

The first few weeks back from Spring Break and many new plants are sprouting out of the ground! The students and I have been working hard on finishing the herb spiral, and the main garden is flourishing with many different types of flowers and vegetables. Last week, I gave each of the students their own…

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