Since the Grand Opening of the East LA Learning Garden in February, we have harvested nearly 1,500 pounds of radishes, Swiss chard, lettuce, beets and spinach! The produce has been distributed to charitable organizations serving the homeless, including the Downtown Women's Center and the West Side Food Bank. We have also made fresh produce available to local residents, our corpsmembers, and to Community Services Unlimited for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
The Garden recently obtained its Growers Certification from the County of Los Angeles Agriculture Commission on Weights and Measures, an annual certification program that allows us to sell low-cost produce from a Farm Stand on site that will help fund operational expenses (i.e. water) and provide locally grown, fresh produce for the community.
Thanks to a generous grant from The Boeing Company, we were also able to install a rainwater capture system that could potentially harvest over 3,000 gallons of rainwater per year and reduce potable water usage and expense. Corpsmembers received classroom and on-the-job training under the guidance of program partners Terrasophia and the American Rainwater Catchment System Association to complete the project.
For anyone interested in getting their hands dirty, we have volunteer harvesting days on Mondays and will host some planting work days during the weekends this summer. For more information about volunteering, please contact Teague Weybright at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next crop is tomatoes...we hope you will come and visit the East LA Learning Garden soon. Thank you for your continuing support!
On February 18, 2013, the East LA Learning Garden and Mott Street Farm welcomed the local community to celebrate its Grand Opening! Thanks to generous donors like you, this two-year project has officially launched its efforts to provide fresh, affordable produce to community residents, valuable outdoor classroom space for students and a gathering place for community workshops and activities. A portion of the food grown on the site will be donated to a local food bank and restaurant partners have agreed to purchase their produce from Mott Street Farm to help pay for the operational expenses of running the site.
The day began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in which the Garden's supporters were recognized, along with some of the founding members of the Mothers of East LA, who had created the first garden on the site over 20 years ago. Bruce Saito - Executive Director of the LA Conservation Corps and Alex Lopez - Director of the LA Corps' East LA Center were joined by Al Renner and Teague Weybright of the Los Angeles Community Garden Council, partners who will operate the Mott Street Farm to cut the green ribbon. Ta-Lecia Arbor from the City of Los Angeles was also present to lend her support. The Garden was featured on the local ABC News as well as the Spanish-language station Univision 34. Please check out the links below to view the stories!
There were a variety of activities to introduce the community residents to the new garden space - many commented that they had been watching the progress our corpsmembers were making in transforming the lot from a weed-infested hillside to a beautiful community asset. Chef Marissa Ayala conducted a cooking demonstration to show residents how to make quick and easy dishes from fresh produce from the garden. Students from the neighboring Soto Street Early Childhood Center and local elementary school helped plant lettuce and radishes. Two citrus trees were planted - with more to come - and residents were able to take trees home to plant in their own gardens.
In the upcoming months, the corpsmembers will be installing a water catchment system (capturing rainwater from the roof of the gazebo) and building a composting center. We will continue to raise funds to conduct community workshops on water conservation strategies, composting at home and nutrition. For more photos of the Grand Opening celebration, please visit our photo album by clicking on the link attached below or going to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lacorps.
Thank you again for helping to make this day possible!
Thanks to our fantastic donors, like you, the East LA Learning Garden and Mott Street Farm will hold its Grand Opening on Presidents' Day - February 18th from 9am to 12noon. All of our supporters are invited to join us for this community celebration, which will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30am!
We have invited community members, local students, volunteers, donors, elected officials and partner organizations to come out for fun activities and to introduce them to the garden, the classroom space and the resources that will be available in the local neighborhood. There will be cooking demonstrations using produce from the garden, children's activities, community plantings, give-aways and refreshments throughout the morning.
Our corpsmembers will also be on hand to give tours of the garden and talk about their experience building the space and what they learned during their workshop with a Master Gardener. Community members will be able to sign up for the East LA Learning Garden email distribution list to learn about upcoming events and workshops.
We would be honored to have you join us for the festivities! No RSVP is required - there will be street parking on a first-come basis (1020 S. Fickett Street, Los Angeles 90023) as well as in the parking lot at Salesian High School (at the intersection of Whittier Blvd. and Matthews Street). Look for our corpsmembers in uniform to direct you to parking. If you need more information, please contact me at email@example.com.
For those of you who are not able to join us next week, we will send an update after the event chronicling all the day's activities!
Thank you again for your support in turning our dream into a reality that will provide residents with local, healthy produce, engage students in experiential learning outside the classroom, teach the community about sustainable practices such as composting and water conservation, and create jobs for local youth. We couldn't do it without you!
Greetings to all our garden supporters! We have some great news to report – on Wednesday, November 7th, employee volunteers from FedEx came out to join our corpsmembers at the East LA Learning Garden for a fantastic day of service! With the support of FedEx, both in funding and in people-power, we were able to build a ranch-style wooden fence along the internal road, create a decomposed granite walking path, excavate the space where an outdoor classroom will be built and construct six wooden benches – all in ONE day!
Our 15-corpsmember New Session crew joined in on the project during their orientation week, providing a great kick-start to their on-the-job training. The “seasoned” corps members provided them with helpful tips and mentoring on using some of the equipment, like the compactor for the decomposed granite walking path. The corps members were impressed with the enthusiasm and hard work of our FedEx volunteers. One corps member commented that it would have taken the crew months to complete the work that was done in just one day. It was a valuable lesson on teamwork!
Our partners at FarmWorks LA also had a community work day in which they built a storage shed for tools and equipment. They will be putting the finishing touches on the irrigation system so that the planting can begin by the end of the month. The project was featured on the Spanish-language station Telemundo 52 in the Los Angeles area (please click the link attached below to view the story).
Thanks to your support, we are on track to hold our Grand Opening for the community in January 2013. Please look out for an invitation to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and community celebration!
For more photos of our work day with FedEx, please use the link below to our Facebook photo album or you can find us at www.facebook.com/lacorps.
Thank you again for being part of this important effort to promote healthy nutrition and green jobs for young people in an underserved community. We look forward to seeing you at the East LA Learning Garden very soon!
Greetings to our East LA Garden Supporters! Despite the sweltering heat that the Los Angeles area has been experiencing this month, our corpsmembers and staff are working hard to meet a fall planting timeline and ribbon-cutting event by the end of the year.
The irrigation system has been installed and all the garden beds have been completed. Our corpsmembers put their construction skills into practice building longer garden beds than they have previously created at other school and community gardens. They carefully leveled them before filling them with 65 cubic yards of potting soil, generously donated by Kellogg Garden Products. Additionally, a Garden Training Program launched last week with Master Gardener, Florence Nishida. Corpsmembers will receive 64 hours of intensive training including everything from composting, pruning and water-wise planting to sun exposure, seasonal planting and beneficial insects. The corpsmembers will be able to put their new knowledge to work as they grow and harvest their crops.
Due to the excessive heat, the Volunteer Day with Federal Express was postponed until October, when the ranch-style fence and wooden deck will be constructed. This will be a busy month at the East LA Garden, as the first crop is slated to be planted beginning on October 1st. In the meantime, the fruit tree orchard - including plum, peach, apricot and Fuji apple trees - was planted in June and the trees have begun to take root with our corpsmembers providing maintenance services. An experimental pumpkin “patch” was also created adjacent to the orchard to test if the vines would thrive in an unused space next to the staircase (they are doing fine so far!)
As promised in our last update, we have posted a short video update on our homepage and have also included the link here. We are still working out our production and editing capabilities, but we hope you enjoy seeing some of our hard-working crew “in action.” Look for more footage of our planting day and service project with FedEx in the next update!
Thank you again for your support of the East LA Garden and Urban Farm!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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