Little Green Fingers

 
$1,770
$5,730
Raised
Remaining
Mini-Gardeners
Mini-Gardeners

Since our last update, community members and leaders,LA Conservation Corps corpsmembers, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and the California Conservation Corps.(C.C.C.) came together to build Eastmont Community Garden, the very first Little Green Fingers community garden in East Los Angeles. Community members expressed their gratitude for bringing such a positive and much needed addition to the neighborhood, and we, in turn, are so thankful for the community's involvement to bring this new garden to life. The next time you're in the area, be sure to stop by and see all the hard work everyone contributed to this beautiful new space! (Eastmont Community Center - 701 Hoefner Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012)

Our next community garden will be popping up in the City of Wilmington starting next month. This garden, the seventh of eight planned Little Green Fingers gardens, will be installed at the East Wilmington Greenbelt Park. Little Green Fingers, DakeLuna, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and representatives from Councilman Joe Buscaino's office held three interactive design workshops so that Wilmington residents could share their needs and goals for the new space, and provide input into how the new garden should look and function. 

Now that the third and final garden workshop to review, refine and approve design plans is complete, the next step is the garden build! Stay tuned for details on our community build day.

To stay informed about new workshops, community build days and park openings, be sure to like our Facebook page!

Thank you to all of our donors for helping to fund these flourishing community gardens. Thanks to you, these communities are on their way to better, healthier lifestyles!

Eastmont Community Garden Build Day #1
Eastmont Community Garden Build Day #1
Eastmont Community Garden Build Day #2
Eastmont Community Garden Build Day #2
Community Workshop 2
Community Workshop 2
Community Workshop 1
Community Workshop 1
Community Workshop 3
Community Workshop 3

Links:

Villa Parke Community Center Grand Opening
Villa Parke Community Center Grand Opening

Thanks to the philanthropic support of First 5 LA and numerous corporate and individual sponsors, the innovative Little Green Fingers (LGF) community garden initiative now has four completed operating gardens in food desert communities throughout LA County and is nearing completion on its fifth garden. More information and photos from the gardens are available at www.littlegreenfingerla.org.

The initiative, spearheaded by the non-profit LA Conservation Corps, has been repeatedly profiled in local media (see full recap below) including a June 2014 profile in the LA Times Home and Garden Section. LGF has also won widespread acclaim from local elected officials including LA County Supervisors including Mark Ridley Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, State Senator Carol Liu, LA City Councilman Felipe Fuentes, and US Congressman Tony Cardenas.

When the project is completed, there will be 8 model garden programs directly serving hundreds of families in need with young children and benefitting tens of thousands of people who are connected to the garden as a grandparent, caregiver, teacher, friend or other relative. 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 unique longterm health study to evaluate the ongoing health benefits of the program for participating children and their families in order to prove the effectiveness of the program and provide guidance for other similar projects. The first findings of the study are expected to be released later this year.

All of the gardens were designed by community members in partnership with landscape architect Glen Dake. 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 non-profit LA Neighborhood Land Trust continues to work within the garden communities to ensure they develop independent garden leadership that will independently manage the gardens.

The following gardens have completed construction:

  • Mariposa-Nabi (Butterfly) Garden – 965 S. Mariposa Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90006
    The Mariposa-Nabi garden is located in Koreatown and was developed in partnership with St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and the church affiliated Celtic Cross, Inc. This unique garden has been operating since the end of 2012 and includes families from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities including: Mexican, Hondoran, Salvadoran, Korean, Filipino, and African American. The garden has been featured in the LA Times, on ABC, KTLA, and nationally on Univision’s Despierto America where it was named the “healthiest garden in America.”

  • West Athens Victory Garden – 10500 Normandie Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90044
    The West Athens Victory Garden is located in South Los Angeles on the only open green space (nearly an acre) surrounded by miles and miles of concrete jungle with some of the most park poor Angeleenos (or urban residents anywhere in the U.S.). The project was developed in partnership with the significant support of LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and his staff who facilitated a 99 year lease to the LA Neighborhood Land Trust that is also developing an organic orchard on the site. The garden has been operational for more than a year and gardeners have been growing an array of fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Villa Parke Community Center Rooftop Garden - 363 E. Villa Street, Pasadena CA 91101
    The Villa Parke Community Center in Pasadena celebrated the grand opening of its rooftop garden on April 24, 2014 . The center, which offers an abundance of recreational facilities and activities for families, now includes a garden for families with young children. There are now dozens of garden beds and fruit trees located in the outdoor Head Start Program area that is co-located at the Community Center. With a library, park, gym, and daycare center, this spot is full of kids, so the addition of a garden that delivers nutritional benefits is a natural way to reach families with children 0-5 years old and help them grow up healthier. The garden was developed in conjunction with the City of Pasadena and with the additional support of the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy.
  • El Cariso Mountain Garden13100 Hubbard St, Sylmar, CA 91342
    El Cariso Mountain garden celebrated its grand opening on May 17, 2014. The event was featured in the LA Times and generated a cover story in the San Fernando Sun.  This community garden was created after a comprehensive process to engage members of the community in the garden’s design. Growing areas include raised beds for 39 families, a few raised extra-high for those without full mobility, and a fruit tree orchard. Additionally, there are growing sculptures, decomposed granite paths, children’s play areas and native plants that make the garden a warm and welcoming environment for children and parents alike. The garden’s agricultural setting inspired the gardeners to design it with a ranch-style fence, and they made use of an existing stand of mature pine trees by locating their gathering area in the tree’s shade. Facilities for cleaning harvests, serving food and eating as a group are important features to build an appreciation of healthy foods among all members of the family. Because the garden is a shared public space, meetings are held monthly where gardeners are invited to share their ideas for improving the garden and the community and for exchanging experiences to maintain the positive community relationships we are striving to create and sustain.
  • COMING SOON – CEDAR RIDGE LANCASTER GARDEN - 2105 E. Ave. J8, Lancaster, CA 93535
    The newly built Cedar Ridge affordable housing project in Lancaster offers permanent housing for at-risk families with children under five and was supported in part by First 5 LA. The Little Green Fingers team was pleased to partner with the developer and the non-profit housing partners to make the vision of a community garden come to reality. The garden will help cash-strapped residents supplement their food budgets with freshly grown healthy fruits and vegetables and provide a fun interactive family-oriented activity for residents as well. The project is the first of its kind in the Antelope Valley and could become a model for future Affordable Housing developments.

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 completed their class with a special graduation ceremony in the garden on April 17th that will be filmed by a national television program.

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.

RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE:

The Little Green Fingers initiative has been fortunate to receive significant local and national coverage. Here are some of the highlights that can also be found at http://www.LittleGreenFingersLA.org:

 LA TIMES

“Little Green Fingers is sowing a new crop of gardeners, healthy eaters”

http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-food-gardens-20140607-story.html

New Sylmar community garden targets families with young children”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-san-fernando-valley-parks-20140518-story.html

 

UNIVISION Names Little Green Fingers “healthiest garden in the world.”

KTLANEWS

KMEX-UNIVISION

LA TIMES

MariposaNabiGrandOpeningVideo

MariposaNabi Cooking& NutritionProgramVideo

Lastreetblog.org

Laopinion.com

LASentinal.net

Ridley-Thomas.LAcounty.gov

El Cariso Grand Opening Pics
El Cariso Grand Opening Pics

Links:

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:

In 2013, Little Green Fingers has been able to complete the construction of its first two community gardens (Mariposa-Nabi Garden in Koreatown and West Athens Victory Garden in South LA) designed especially for needy families with young children.

We’ve begun our innovative cooking and nutrition programming to help gardeners and their families learn how to eat healthier as well as recently launching www.LittleGreenFingersLA.org to highlight the initiative and to provide gardening and health resources for families. Thanks to significant regional media coverage on the initiative including KABC, KTLA, KMEX, Telemundo, LA Times, LA Sentinel, and La Opinion, we’ve been able to share the vision and impact of Little Green Fingers with hundreds of thousands of Southern Californians.

 

MARIPOSA-NABI GARDEN
The Mariposa-Nabi garden in Koreatown, which just celebrated its first anniversary, is thriving and was recently highlighted on Univision’s national morning program where it was named “the healthiest garden in the world.” Recently, we completed the first cooking & nutrition program for more than 20 families that consisted of a series of five cooking classes where moms and dads learned how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals. In addition to preparing a meal for more than 80 people to enjoy, the families were also sent home with the complete food ingredients to prepare each meal for their families at home. The cooking program, provided ingredients for families to prepare food to collectively serve 400 family members at home and provided an additional 400 meals that gardener families helped to prepare during the cooking demonstration classes over five weeks. It was particularly heartwarming to see kids from throughout the Koreatown neighborhood descend on the kitchen and partake of a sumptuous community dinner filled with laughter, songs and healthy food.

Additional News Coverage and videos on the Mariposa-Nabi Garden can be found here:

KTLA NEWS

KABC NEWS

KMEX - UNIVISION

LA TIMES

Mariposa Nabi Grand Opening Video

Mariposa Nabi Cooking & Nutrition Program Video


WEST ATHENS VICTORY GARDEN
We were pleased to celebrate the Grand Opening of the West Athens Victory Garden this fall with Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, State Senator Rod Wright and with hundreds of kids and their families. The event was the culmination of a comprehensive community stakeholder design process as well as more than four community workdays that involved hundreds of volunteers including some members of the Southern California Gas Company and the Walt Disney Company who donated their weekend time to help build garden beds, a water cistern and a tricycle path.

The impact of transforming an empty one acre lot at 105th & Normandie in South Los Angeles into a vibrant community garden already is beginning to provide innumerable benefits. The garden is expected to provide a minimum of 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each year for low-income families living in this “food desert” community where there is little access to affordable, healthy produce.

 

The garden directly serves 40 families with an average family size of 3.5 people per household; the garden will benefit 140 people directly and through partnerships with local schools and their families, it will benefit nearly 10,000 people and indirectly benefit 40,000 people.

The garden also will serve the local elementary school (Woodcrest Elementary) that already is planning field trips to the site. The school has 398 students who will directly benefit and they are part of families that make up an additional 1,393 people. We’re also setting up a program with the local high school (George Washington Prep) that has 2,130 students who are part of families that make up an additional 7,455 people. 

The Community Gardeners are currently in the process of completing their Master Gardener training and will soon begin a cooking and nutrition educational program.

Additional News Coverage of the West Athens Victory Garden can be found here:

Lastreetblog.org

Laopinion.com

LASentinal.net

Ridley-Thomas.LAcounty.gov

Links:


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Organization

LA Conservation Corps

Los Angeles, CA, United States
http://www.lacorps.org

Project Leader

Ruben Aronin

Better World Group
Los Angeles, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Little Green Fingers