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