Gardening is more than dealing with seeds

I love seeing girls feel safe enough to be themselves.

Gardening classes at Taking the Reins have provided this beautiful space for girls from all different backgrounds to show up together, learn, be silly, and discover together. I like to give the girls room to exhibit leadership and creativity during classes. So this month we have been focusing on revamping our seed supply. This means we are planting older seeds that have been harvested in our garden previously, and making room in our pantry for all the new seeds we’re harvesting. It’s getting colder so several plants have “gone to seed” as they say. We’ve harvested lavender seeds and sunflower seeds, and coriander seeds, just to name a few. I also assigned a couple of girls to the garden bed that had a ton of amaranth ready to be harvested.

Amaranth produces this tiny, vibrant, wine colored flowers around the itty bitty black seeds inside. The seeds can be ground up or put whole into breads because they’re a great source of complete protein (all nine amino acids) and fiber. However, the flowers are so beautiful we didn’t want to discard them. So a couple of girls took on the tedious task of saving the flowers, drying them, and then grinding them into a powder. Due to their creativity and the fun they were having sorting, and grinding the flowers, we will be using the powder in December to make some beautiful tinted coconut oil lip balms! They couldn’t resist putting the powder on their faces during class and using it as a natural blush. I don’t personally wear any make-up, but I love that they feel secure enough to play while exploring and creating.

I have one particular student who has all these ideas for a few spots that are currently not being used for vegetation on the farm. I made time during class for her to plant some seeds she found in a space she created a design for, that otherwise would’ve remained barren. Our students are innovators, artists, engineers, and leaders. The gardening class has provided a space for them to shine as individuals while also learning how to work together. Childhood is after all oh so short. Why not give them a little room to make learning more fun;)

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LaToya Granados

LaToya has worked with children in education for many years. The last 5 years in particular she taught yoga and nutritional cooking classes to students in schools and group homes, as well as private family sessions. Her love for holistic living naturally took her into the world of gardening. She loves teaching for Enrich LA because she gets to enrich the lives of students from many different backgrounds. She is passionate about taking care of the earth and self and teaching others to do the same. This has made teaching gardening an excellent fit for her.

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This week at Multnomah Elementary the 4th graders went on a scavenger hunt in the garden looking for native plants! Each native plant in the garden was given an information sheet and a reason as to why we plant it in the garden. Do they attract butterflies? Are they water wise? Students were given three…

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This week at West Vernon Elementary, we wrapped up our winter rotation. The students harvested what was ready from the garden which included broccoli, collard greens, cauliflower, purple beans, snap peas, chard, carrots and kale! We made some vegetarian tacos, using collard greens as the “tortilla” and each student was able to help make and…

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