April 2023: Garden Revitalization and Student Garden Kits
For Earth Day, FAVE was site at a school site in Pasadena to weed and beautify an existing garden.
This Earth Day, FAVE will be on site at a school site in Pasadena to weed and beautify an existing garden! The extra TLC that FAVE members will give to the garden will allow it to become a hands-on outdoor classroom for students! Our at-home kit project is to assemble garden kits that will be donated to students.
WHAT WE WILL DO:
Help empower students with the power of understanding food sources, growth cycles, and practical gardening skills
WHERE THE GARDEN KITS ARE BEING DONATED/ WHERE WE ARE VOLUNTEERING:
This month our partner is Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF). PEF is a non-profit dedicated to providing essential resources and enrichment opportunities to every public school student in Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre.PEF is committed to supporting the health and fitness of all our PUSD students. The Pasadena Educational Foundation works with community partners to grow Pasadena Unified School District’s school garden program. Gardens bring families, school staff, and the community together to cultivate a healthy environment for the well-being of children. Teachers across the district are trained in farm-to-school curriculum, leading students through lessons in seeds and germination, soils, insects, gardening, harvesting, and nutrition. These coordinated resources and services directly benefit children’s learning and success.PUSD’s gardens are managed by a full-time Master Gardener. Produce grown in the organic school-community gardens is incorporated into school cafeteria offerings. USDA named PUSD a model program for management, innovation, and impact in promoting healthier lifestyles. In addition to helping students learn about sustainable foods and nutrition, gardening is proven to be therapeutic and can help students reduce stress and anxiety. Caring for and harvesting the garden is a useful life skill, esteem-building, and fun! By revitalizing one of the school garden sites, volunteers will help to make sure the garden has proper maintenance and is ready for student learning! The volunteers making garden kits for students will enable students to take their learning home and continue gardening for their family.
EDUCATION + ADVOCACY MATERIAL
How are community/ school gardens helping communities throughout Los Angeles?
In many parts of Los Angeles, food insecurity is a huge issue that faces all family members, but also greatly affects school-aged children who need both food and nutrition to be able to remain healthy and learn. People who live in areas where there is limited or no access to grocery stores and food are called Food Deserts. Building community and school gardens not only helps to provide fresh, nutritious food that is easily accessible, but it teaches community members and students the opportunity to learn about how to grow their own food and how to incorporate nutritious foods into their diet. Plus, students especially are more likely to try new foods if they grow them!
Why do we keep saying "food insecurity" instead of "hungry?"
“Hunger” is an imprecise term that describes a condition that ranges from easily remedied to utterly all-consuming. (If I'm hungry, I can walk to my fridge.)"Food insecure" means that people are, at times, unable to acquire adequate food because of insufficient money or access. (If I'm food insecure, I may have nothing in my fridge, may not have a fridge, or may not be able to walk to it.) Learn more
Why is learning about this important?
1 in 4 Californians do not know where their next meal will come from - yet California produces half the nation's fruits and vegetables!Food insecurity may result in poor school attendance and performance, lowered workplace productivity, and physical and mental health problems.People struggling with food insecurity have to make tough decisions that no one should face. No family should have to decide between buying groceries or paying rent, no senior should have to choose between food and medicine, and no parent should have to skip a meal in order for their children to eat.
Some Terms (via USDA):
Food Desert: a low-income census tract in which a substantial share of residents have low access to a supermarket or grocery storeCensus Tract: area in which the poverty rate is at least 20% and in a metropolitan area in which family income does not exceed 80% of the median family incomeLow access: described as greater than one mile from a grocery or supermarket in urban areas, or greater than ten miles from a grocery or supermarket in rural areas
Food Insecurity, Hunger, Food Deserts Are All Intertwined
All of these occur in low socioeconomic communities, which historically have been structured and built without establishments that support fresh and/or healthy foodsLow socioeconomic communities, historically and currently, are flooded with Quick Stops, gas stations, 7-11’s, fast food restaurants, and some mom and pop grocery stores--all offering the same options lacking fresh or unpackaged foodsCommunity members lack financial means to buy healthier foods from alternative establishmentsThe food that is most accessible in these communities is high in sodium and preservatives, which can lead to health challengesJust as one example, in South LA there are more liquor stores than full-service grocery stores:Population: 826,000Full-Service Supermarkets: 9Other Grocery Stores: 82Liquor Stores: 119(Statistics from 2020 survey by Los Angeles Food Policy Council)
The Bottom Line
Community members eat a diet of food that doesn’t nourish → their bodies are nutrient-deprived, but still craving nutrition → community members experience health challenges. Learning about food cultivation makes our community stronger and empowered!
WHY WE'RE HELPING THE PASADENA EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION
Maintaining school garden programs is labor and time intensive. After an intense and unique California winter, these gardens need some TLC and maintenance so that they are ready for students to plant, grow, and learn this spring! That’s why volunteers like you are so important! We hope you can come out to support PEF or you can work at home to create student garden kits!