Biodiversity

diversity

We spent this week at Roosevelt in the classroom talking about biodiversity. We discussed three parts that make up biodiversity- genetics, species, and ecosystems and why more bio-diverse systems are more sustainable, more resilient, have higher yields and last longer than less diverse systems. We discussed the two significant forms of agriculture, monocultures and polycultures, and why agricultural industry leans toward monocropping techniques (because it’s cheaper!) though it’s ultimately far less sustainable and produce lower yields. Life is not linear, though it’s often considered linear when talking about food chains. We discussed how different plants and animals provide for each other. For example, birds and insects help pollinate trees, mammals provide nutrients for plants in their poop, and large plants provide shade, structure and home to smaller plants and animals.

To better understand the importance of biodiversity, students played a game with a deck of cards. Each student got a card and we played 3 scenarios. The first scenario, each student that had a red card was an animal and each black card was a plant. There are 2 species in one ecosystem. All students began standing and I began with explaining that a disease killed all the animals in the ecosystem. All students with red cards sat down and all students with black cards were still standing. However, because all animals are gone, the soil quickly ran out of nutrients and the plants quickly died as well. In the second scenario, a heart =mammal, diamond= insect, spade=tree, club= vegetable crop and all students began by standing again. This time a fire burnt down all the crops, so everyone with a club sat down. Quickly after, mammals began to die because they had no more food and the tree didn’t have essential nutrients and only the insects/diamonds were left standing. But not for long because they also can’t sustain life on their own. In the last scenario, each card represented an individual species and followed similarly to the previous two.This time however, not all species died out. This was because there was enough biodiversity to still be resilient and sustain life. Students also discussed how the rate of extinction was significantly slower with more biodiversity.

Lindsay De May

My love for food and enriching food systems has brought me to LA after graduating in May from Syracuse University with a degree in Food Studies, concentrating on food politics and governance. I grew up gardening with my family in New Mexico, spent a summer working on an organic produce farm in New York, and spent three years as a teaching assistant for food science, locavorism and culinary arts classes. I look forward to incorporating my experiences in developing an exciting curriculum for my elementary and high school courses, with the hope that I'll inspire them to appreciate food the way I do!

Mid City Prescott – Week 12

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…
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Lasting Good byes

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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

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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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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 13

By David Ames | June 24, 2019

Hi Gardeners! Another week has gone by, and right before the official start of the summer we’ve had our 2nd harvest since we started with the farm.  Our zucchini plants keep on thriving, it takes these shoots about 3 – 4 weeks to get to that size/weight. (12 – 18 inches long and around 4…

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…