Learning can be meditative

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As mentioned in the last blog post, we have been learning about what an eco-system is and studying the eco-systems within each garden bed here at Taking The Reins this Fall. Each student is assigned a garden bed to explore and within that bed, I’ve challenged the students to each choose one plant to explore on a deeper level. They had to use at least 4 senses in most cases to thoroughly experience the plant as it lives in it’s eco-system of the garden bed. How does this plant interact with temperature, insects, other plants nearby, the wind, the birds in the area, the water, etc.  They got to draw their plant (nature journaling), which is a known meditational activity. Meditational activities are important because they support a healthy nervous system. They were also asked to accompany their drawing with facts about their plants. I brought in some research on each chosen plant for the students to go through. They finished up this session by doing a short presentation for the class about what they learned about their plant of choice. We displayed their beautiful artworks in the kitchen next to the garden. I was so delighted to see the girls explain what they learned to one another and to recall facts about other plants that they learned from the presentations done by their classmates. They are leaving this session with a better understanding of not only how to care for certain plants, but also with knowledge to pass onto others which ultimately builds self-esteem. 

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.

Honeybees are buzzing at Hamlin Charter’s garden!

We learned about honeybees and why they are so important in our garden. About 1/3 of our vegetables depend on them for pollination! We learned about the differences between the queen bee, the worker bees, and the drone bees. Each one looks slightly different and has a different job in the hive. The bees that…
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“Turning” Trash into Compost at Alta Loma

As our session came to a close in December, we checked our compost tumbler for the last time.  We’d been adding and turning since school started, and it was getting almost too heavy to turn.  Looked good, smelled good, felt good.  So each student filled up a small plant container with some of the new…
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The Butterfly Effect at Alta Loma

This rainy day craft was so much fun and good enough to eat.  And some tried!  Using different shapes of pasta to describe the lifecycle of a butterfly was a hit with our little gardeners and chefs.  Once they got past the sheer variety of noodles one can find at the grocery store, they got…
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Talking Native Plants and Noshing on Veggies!

The winter solstice has come and gone once again. It’s still chilly, as winter should be, but the shadows are getting shorter and shorter all the time. The seeds that I first planted when I began caring for the garden 3 months ago are now ready to harvest! Celery, beets, radishes, broccoli and peas are…
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A Big Change with the Season at KIPP Comienza

Change is constant in a garden, and at KIPP Comienza our final lesson of the year began with a new rotation. Our new groups were introduced to the garden space where they learned how it offers opportunities to use their senses as well as what makes up a food chain. Lessons were held in their…
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Drawing Seeds and Learning Names at Utah St. Elementary

This week I needed to finish up learning the students’ names  and we needed to learn about seeds. Because this lesson took place the literal day before LAUSD went on winter break there was a lot of excitement in the air. My first class of students came by dressed in their Christmas best. They were…
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Sustainability – Doing our Part

At EnrichLA, our mission is to bring edible school gardens to all Los Angeles schools. As part of that mission, we want to teach students how to become responsible and empowered stewards of the environment. One of the greatest lessons students can learn is the incredible process of composting: how grass clippings and food scraps…
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Studying Seeds at 20th St. Elementary

Last week at 20th St. Elementary was a bit hectic. Their schedule was altered a bit because of their Christmas performances, but we made due! I began the lessons by asking them questions to reference previous lessons: what vegetables and fruits are in season in the winter? what kinds of veggies and fruits do we…
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Sorting Roots, Fruits and Veggie at Ramona

I brought the garden to the kids on a raining day at Ramona.  We learned the differences between roots, fruits and vegetables then played a sorting game to test their knowledge. Some of the cards had fruit, roots or vegetables that they had never heard of. The kids had to use the information they learned…
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Amazing Imagery at 6th Avenue

As we wrap up the fall semester, we are seeing the first harvest from our early fall plantings. The students planted mini radishes and are now beginning to harvest 🙂 With our 1st graders, we did the a 5 senses lesson combined with learning about “imagery” in the garden. The students were asked to then…
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Getting organized at Taking the Reins

By Marina Frugone | November 21, 2018

“How do we know when to harvest?”  aaaah…. a hunch? a feel? it smells right? fruit’s the right size? Why don’t we make a harvest calendar! Pulling out the trusty UC Master Gardener Handbook and looking up the approximate harvest time for each of our plants. The girls are attentive!    Also, though it is…

A world beneath our feet… ALC students dig it up

By Marina Frugone | November 21, 2018

“Eeeeeewwwwwwwwww!” said ALC student. “What did I do?” said squirmy worm exposed to the sunlight. “Worms are amazing. Here, grab one and I’ll tell you about what they do” said Garden Ranger. “Their poop is really good for the plants and they create air pockets for roots. Worms are legit.” said other ALC student. ”…

Sprouts for the Sprouts at Mid-City’s Prescott

By Marina Frugone | November 20, 2018

The 1st and 2nd graders of Mid-City’s Prescott School of Enriched Sciences (the sprouts, the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are the seedlings…) watched these radish babies grow from seed to seedling and last week we discovered why root vegetables sometimes grow hugging each other…like these carrots… Once roots start to grow and grow under…

Stewardship at Taking the Reins

By Marina Frugone | November 20, 2018

Every Sunday I teach at Taking the Reins, a non-profit dedicated to building their four core concepts: responsibility, confidence, teamwork and leadership to teen girls in LA. Last Sunday, our main lesson was on garden troubleshooting and land stewardship where we made a list of things to do when you walk into the garden: watch…

Growing in the City…

By Marina Frugone | November 5, 2018

Between Westlake (McArthur Park) and Downtown LA you’ll find Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, a high school made up of several ‘sub’ schools. One of them, the Academic Leadership Community or simply ALC. The after school garden group meets every Tuesday from 1:30-3PM in a small but oh so mighty garden overlooking downtown. From day one,…

The Wait for Water is Over- Berendo is Blooming!

By Catherine Siefert | November 30, 2018

This month at Berendo Middle School, the students learned about the soil pie chart, producers & consumers, climates & seasons, and parts of plants. This was these students first exposure to the garden so there was lots to learn! With the construction going on, the water had been turned off for a couple weeks so…

Ladybugs, Seeds, & Weeds at 2nd Street!

By Catherine Siefert | November 30, 2018

This month, the students at 2nd Street Elementary learned about dirt, friends & foes, seasons, and parts of plants. This was these students’ first exposure to the garden class so we were starting from ground zero- very exciting! For the “Let’s Talk Dirt” lesson, the students got their hands dirty touching some wet clay soil…

Journaling at Micheltorena

By Alex Arciniega | December 15, 2018

A few months ago, I trained under master gardener extraordinaire, Alexys. She brought out a gardening journal that was given to her by a family member and I just fell in love. I’ve been documenting my personal garden on Insta, via texts, in journals, you name it! So, if we’re going to work with kids,…

Upper Classes Presentations @Micheltorena

By Alex Arciniega | December 15, 2018

It’s time for winter break, and although the kids are probably so excited about the time off, it’s a bittersweet time for me as a garden ranger. Week 6 was our last session for this rotation and I couldn’t be more proud of my upper classes. Not only have these kids grown tremendously, but I…

Getting Kids Going with Composting @ Micheltorena

By Alex Arciniega | October 29, 2018

Kids are awesome! No, really, they are! They intuitively get things that take adults years to understand, and they don’t have all of these ingrained barriers. With that said, let’s get dirty. Compost. EWWWWWW right? Not really as it turns out, I only heard one “ew” from my classes and we moved on. I was…