Why I’m here…by Steven

P1020933Hello, I’m Steve, an EnrichLA intern and graduate student who recently moved to Los Angeles in order for my girlfriend of five years to start her Master of Social Welfare at UCLA.

Before moving to Los Angeles, we lived in various places, a product of two AmeriCorps terms each and the WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program.  Most recently, we lived together in New Orleans as I attended Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine to study Public Health Nutrition.  New Orleans is an amazing place, it is a unique American city and its most culturally diverse.  From its French Quarter to its Garden District, it teams with energy and an overwhelming sense of place.  Music creates the heartbeat of the city and its food takes it towards cardiac arrest.  From gumbo to jambalaya to its rich tradition of coffee with chicory, the food is worth a trip in itself.  I miss it (as you could probably tell).

Alright, back to how I got to EnrichLA…

During my AmeriCorps terms, I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan and it changed my life.  I began to research ways I could become more involved in the movement towards clean food and creating community around it.  I joined WWOOF in 2011 and worked on 5 different farms until I enrolled at Tulane.  Three in Northern California (Napa and Sonoma), one in Italy, and another in the Austin, Texas area. The experience taught me about hard work, about the struggles of the small American farmer and about what it takes to put food on the table.  I enjoyed the work so much that I missed it when I started doing schoolwork behind a computer screen.  I needed to find a way to get out in the sunshine and get my hands dirty again.

As part of my Master of Public Health, I am required to do 300 hours of “field work” to get a sense of what it is like being a public health professional.  As it was becoming clear that we were moving to Los Angeles, I researched organizations who were impacting people’s lives in a practical and tangible way.  I feel that the work EnrichLA is such an organization.

Providing schools with a place to teach children about where their food comes from is invaluable for the future of so many things.  Studies suggest garden education increases fruit and vegetable consumption in students who take part.  This has implications for the future of health care spending, of agriculture, of creating a healthy population, of the environment, of workers rights, and the future of how we think about education.  I feel privileged everyday knowing I am impacting the future in so many ways.

Thank you to EnrichLa for allowing me to be part of EnrichLA.

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EnrichLA Team

Proudly inherited my green thumb and love of gardening, growing & eating vegetables from my mama, a landscape architect, my grandmother & great grandfather all from Savannah, Georgia. My mama said she designed gardens to make the world a peaceful, beautiful place to sit and day dream or picnic and take a nap. Planting edible gardens with children is a joyful experience. Watching children explore, learn & grow while seedlings germinate reaching for the sky reassures me the earth is in good hands for future generations. My little girl Maya, LOVES to eat green veggies including kale, chard, spinach, bok choi and lettuce. Thank Goodness for Gardens.

Lasting Good byes

The time has come to wrap up the school year at Frank Del Olmo, which means we get to harvest, plant and celebrate! We dug up the rest of our carrots, and found some great shapes that had been hiding underground. We also took advantage of the abundant flowers to make some flower presses. During a…
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Seed Harvesting at 3rd Street Elementary

As we wrap up a spring season and move into the summer months, there are many plants that had wonderful seeds to harvest . At 3rd Street Elementary , we discovered this month about how seeds disperse and the importance of building an heirloom collection. We then harvested dried sugar snap pea & arugula seeds…
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Painting Party at Weemes Elementary

It has been a great year at Weemes Elementary and to cap off an awesome gardening year, some parent volunteers and staff helped to repaint our wooden fence lining the edible garden. We chose a bright grass green and on our last day of class students during class and lunch came and painted inspirational artwork…
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MCP Weeks 10 & 11 – 1st harvest!

Hey gardeners, Greetings from Mid City Prescott Middle School! Felt like starting the post with a landscape shot of our garden around 5PM, the senior trees are thriving and providing more shade than wished for, specially with weather being overcast and humid these past weeks. It will be quite helpful in a few weeks when…
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West Vernon Elementary bug detectives

Detectives on the Case Students at West Vernon remove their garden gloves and put on their detective hats this week. The case? We’re looking for bugs, and the only way to find them are the clues they leave behind. Are these bugs friends or foes? How can we tell the difference? What do each of…
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Wiggly and Ziggly: Worm friends at Mid City

Our 2nd graders had a blast this month learning all about worms! We learned about their bodies, what they eat and how they contribute to the soil. We then observed a few worms up close and personal (with a couple students naming their new friends “Wiggly & Ziggly”). We then went into the garden and…
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“What’s the Soil Story?” at 6th Avenue

May was a great month at 6th Avenue! Our 5th graders got down and dirty to learn about Soil Conversation. We learned about about ways to conserve our soil including rotating certain crops, adding soil amendments and planting natives. We then did soil tests of our garden bed soil to see if we have a…
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Audubon M.S meets EnrichLA!

Hello folks, This is a happier post than usual, because is always amazing news when new schools come aboard with a gardening project for their campuses. One of our latest additions is Audubon Middle School, where we have adapted an area right next to a building for 6 raised beds. We have 3 citrus trees:…
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Kale is King at Queen Anne Elementary

No words could be more delightful to a Garden Ranger than “I love kale!”  Most of the kids found out it was worth a try and now they can’t get enough of it!  Since we can’t meet the demand with our current supplies, more kale will have to be planted next year.  Especially the purple…
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Angeles: All classes back for a week!

  Hola, After a big harvest at Angeles Mesa, we have started getting our beds ready for summer! On our last harvest our 2nd graders  helped out gathering up 15-20 lbs of red beets! And also lots of yellow chard, rosemary, strawberries and lettuces. The only two crops that will stay for the summer are…
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Fearless Kale Eaters

By Alicia Papanek | April 12, 2019

  This Los Angeles version of spring is upon us, preemptively sending lettuces to bolt, premature marigolds to flower, and beans to pack-it-in. We’ve sadly had to watch (and taste) our super sweet snap peas go from juicy candy to cellulose-y seed bombs, but behold!—our leafy greens—rainbow chard, lacinato kale, and purple kale have become…

OLPH Garden is Thriving!

By Soinia Burgueno | April 17, 2019

The garden at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Downey is doing great! There is a variety of seedlings growing and students continue to help with composting.  

Mid City Prescott – Week 12

By David Ames | June 14, 2019

BIG NEWS! (at least for us). Really excited for our latest additions to our farm! The EnrichLA team paid us a visit, bringing a welcoming storage box to the entrance of the garden. They also brought lots of hay to cover our paths, we’ve had to mow too often since it got sunnier and with…

MCP Weeks 10 & 11 – 1st harvest!

By David Ames | June 3, 2019

Hey gardeners, Greetings from Mid City Prescott Middle School! Felt like starting the post with a landscape shot of our garden around 5PM, the senior trees are thriving and providing more shade than wished for, specially with weather being overcast and humid these past weeks. It will be quite helpful in a few weeks when…

Audubon M.S meets EnrichLA!

By David Ames | June 3, 2019

Hello folks, This is a happier post than usual, because is always amazing news when new schools come aboard with a gardening project for their campuses. One of our latest additions is Audubon Middle School, where we have adapted an area right next to a building for 6 raised beds. We have 3 citrus trees:…

Angeles: All classes back for a week!

By David Ames | May 27, 2019

  Hola, After a big harvest at Angeles Mesa, we have started getting our beds ready for summer! On our last harvest our 2nd graders  helped out gathering up 15-20 lbs of red beets! And also lots of yellow chard, rosemary, strawberries and lettuces. The only two crops that will stay for the summer are…

MCP Week 8 – Encountering new challenges

By David Ames | May 15, 2019

Gardeners, here are the updates on Mid City Prescott Farm as we’ve had some cloudy days the past days. After giving a few more days to the seeds that were planted with the students before we filled up all beds with soil, I decided to finally plant some fresh stuff, and since the weather has…

Week 7 – Reporting from MCP Farm

By David Ames | May 13, 2019

Hello gardeners, we’ll pick up where we left on last week’s post about our Pepper plants at the Mid City Prescott Farm. It’s been 6 weeks since we planted those seedlings and unfortunately they are not thriving as everything else is at the garden. If we could make one exception, it would be the red…

Pruining and weeding on these first weeks of flowering

By David Ames | May 6, 2019

Hello Hello! Mid City Prescott’s school farm is thriving! Our latest gardening action has consisted on lots and lots of weeding around our row beds, grass is doing just as well as our crops. I think rather sooner than later, we will get some mulch to lay around most of our rows. Before and after…

Mid City Prescott – Post Spring Break Maintenance

By David Ames | April 29, 2019

Hey gardeners, back to school after spring break! Impressed by how much all of our cucurbitaceae crops grew over the past 2 weeks. After figuring out the irrigation system at the beginning of the project, the plants have really settled and are growing healthy. Tomatoes and zucchinis have started to flower, the same for all…

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