LA Conservation Corps

The LA Conservation Corps' primary mission is to provide at-risk young adults and school-aged youth with opportunities for success through job skills training, education and work experience with an emphasis on conservation and service projects that benefit the community.
Apr 14, 2014

Little Green Fingers Updates Spring 2014

Child Watering a Newly Planted Tree
Child Watering a Newly Planted Tree

Thanks to the philanthropic support of First 5 LA and countless corporate and individual sponsors, Little Green Fingers now has four completed gardens in food desert communities throughout LA County and will soon be building two more towards completing 8 model garden programs especially designed for families with young children. Each garden provides a unique community garden partnership model and includes training programs with a certified University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, as well as a cooking/nutrition program for families.

The program also includes a long-term health study to evaluate the ongoing health benefits of the program for participating children and their families. All of the gardens were designed by community members in partnership with the landscape architect firm DakeLuna. The garden beds and landscaping were constructed by the LA Conservation Corps members (at-risk youth aged 18-24 who receive invaluable paid job training and educational opportunities) with the assistance of community volunteers.

The following gardens have completed construction.

  • Mariposa-Nabi (Butterfly) Garden located in Koreatown in partnership with St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
  • West Athens Victory Garden located in South LA in partnership with the LA Neighborhood Land Trust
  • Villa Parke Community Center Rooftop Garden located in Pasadena in partnership with the City of Pasadena
  • El Cariso Mountain Garden/El Cariso Jardin de la Montaña located in Sylmar in partnership with El Cariso Community Regional Park

SPRING OPENINGS

This Spring, Little Green Fingers is pleased to host the official Grand Opening Community Events for the Villa Park Community Center garden in Pasadena (April 26) and for El Cariso Mountain Garden in Sylmar (May 17). We anticipate having hundreds of community members joining local and state elected leaders at both events. The Grand Openings mark the completion of community design meetings, volunteer work days, assignment of garden plots and the first plantings by the garden families.

NEW GARDEN CONSTRUCTION

Little Green Fingers is also busy with new garden construction projects. The 5th Little Green Fingers garden will be built this Spring and Summer in Lancaster in conjunction with a new affordable and transitional housing development and its 6th garden will be built in East Los Angeles at the Wellness Center at the historic General Hospital. Our team is also exploring sites for a future garden in the Long Beach/Wilmington communities.

COOKING/NUTRITION PROGRAMS

Thanks to the Walt Disney Company, the Southern California Gas Company, and Whole Foods, Little Green Fingers is providing supplemental cooking and nutrition classes for participating gardener families. Gardeners at our West Athens Victory Garden will be completing their class with a special graduation ceremony in the garden on April 17th that will be filmed by a national television program. Future cooking and nutrition classes will be held for the El Cariso gardeners (Villa Parke gardeners also will be offered classes funded by a non-profit organization outside of the Little Green Fingers collaborative).

AWARENESS RAISING & SPONSORSHIPS

Whole Foods Santa Monica picked Little Green Fingers to be their featured 5% partner for a recent marketing and fundraising promotion held in their store that raised nearly $5,000. Thousands of Whole Foods shoppers were made aware of the Little Green Fingers initiative through bag stuffers and social media blasts. Whole Foods Pasadena is also supporting the Little Green Fingers initiative. For the second year in a row, The Walt Disney Company and the Southern California Gas Company provided generous sponsorship for some of the cooking and nutrition programs offered at the gardens.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

The Little Green Fingers team leaders recently met for a half day retreat to plan for the long-term success and growth of the initiative with the hope of expanding garden programs to benefit low-income families in communities throughout LA County and beyond.

MEDIA COVERAGE

The Little Green Fingers initiative has been fortunate to receive significant local and national coverage.

Children Treating Garden Bed Wood
Children Treating Garden Bed Wood
Garden Build with Supervisor Yaroslavsky
Garden Build with Supervisor Yaroslavsky

Links:

Mar 14, 2014

Water Education at the SEA Lab

Jellies cultured at the SEA LAb
Jellies cultured at the SEA LAb

The SEA Lab facility corpsmembers (corpsmembers are our program trainees) have been learning the requirements to raise moon jellies.  They have been caring for about 100 tiny ephyra (the first life stage of a sea jelly), they have been hatching brine shrimp for food for the jellies and closely observing their behavior to ensure survival.

The SEA Lab education corpsmembers are now teaching water conservation programs sponsored by the local Municipal Water Districts. With the current drought conditions gripping Southern California our teams cannot educate enough people about water conservation and how they can make smart choices to help conserve water.  The SEA Lab has two outreach vehicles "the Travelling Tidepool" that are equipped to go out into the community and teach at Los Angeles inner city schools, providing learning opppounities for students not able to travel to the SEA Lab.  The vehicles transport sea creatures to the schools to engage kids through touch and interactive educational programs.  SEA Lab's on-site and outreach programs have taught more than 1000 students this year.

The SEA Lab is currently training six new corpsmemebrs this month, stay tuned for updates.

Loading the Travelling Tidepoool
Loading the Travelling Tidepoool
Feeding time
Feeding time
Feb 11, 2014

East LA Learning Garden's New Garden Beds!

Corpsmembers working on our new garden beds
Corpsmembers working on our new garden beds

It has been a busy winter at our East Los Angeles Learning Garden! Our Corpsmembers worked at the garden leveling a new area for additional community garden beds. These garden beds will serve as both an outdoor classroom as well as working beds for the community of Boyle Heights.  In total, the crew excavated approximately 10 cubic yards of soil, constructed 13 (3’ X 6’) garden beds, and installed landscape fabric.  The LA Corps will be ordering soil to backfill the beds next month.

The crew also provided maintenance to the existing beds by removing weeds from the walking paths, repaired the decomposed granite walking path, fabricated and installed a bulletin board and provided general maintenance in the form of weed  and litter abatement. 

Being that harvesting season ended in October, the garden had no community harvest days since then. We will resume our Sunday Community Harvest days this month!

In total, 12 young adult corpsmembers received marketable job training while working at the East LA Learning Garden.  They learned how to operate equipment such as our bobcat and a walk-behind trencher, used multiple hand tools, learned plant and tree identification and light carpentry.

Thank you for continuing to make these opportunities possible for our corpsmembers and this urban garden thrive.

If you would like to make another contribution to the East LA Learning Garden, please consider donating on Wednesday, February 12th- the 1st Global Giving Bonus Day of 2014! Donations will be matched at 30% (until funds run out) and a $1000 award will be given to the project that as the most contributions on that day. We would be very grateful if you could share this Bonus Day information with your social networks.

If you’re interested in visiting our special garden, please contact me at tleung@lacorps.org or come by on our Harvest days, which take place on Sundays from 9am to 1pm. Remember to bring your baskets or reusable bag to take home some veggies!

Thank you again for all of your support!

Our growing garden
Our growing garden
Nurturing our newest plants
Nurturing our newest plants
We
We're looking forward to this month's harvest!

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