Students from Hancock Park Elementary School are digging deep for its newly created SEEDS Farm, a garden full of edible plants.
The school and the Sustainable Environmental Enhancement Development for Schools (SEEDS) program – a bond-funded program that creates or improves school greening projects – partnered to create SEEDS Farm, an outdoor learning environment where students grow and study plants through hands-on learning.
Hancock Park principal Ashley Parker said the garden will further enhance the school’s dedication to incorporating its outdoor environment with in-class learning. She said individual classes have participated in outdoor gardening projects before, but SEEDS Farm is the largest garden to date and brings together teachers and students from different grades and classes.
Beverly Glass, a fifth grade teacher said SEEDS Farm is educational in many ways. Her class is growing Brussels sprouts, chard and other vegetables. They will study the plants’ root systems, how they make chlorophyll and research natural plant habitats.
“Years ago when I taught at another school I had a garden for my own class and the students took such pride and ownership in caring for the plants,” Glass said. “As soon as I found out we were going to have a school garden here I jumped at the opportunity to have my own plot.”
The students, she said, come out every day to water the plants and learn about the environment.
They also learn about nutrition and the importance of understanding where their food comes from.
Glass explained that aside from studying dietary nutrition and plant structure, tending to a community garden teaches students to manage responsibilities.
“My students, on their own, have created a schedule that they maintain to take care of the plants,” Glass said. “They’re so excited about seeing something grow and flourish from the seeds they planted.”
Naoli Fufa, a third-grade student who helped plant a section of the garden, said she was excited to learn about the plants and see them grow.
“It’s really fun actually. We get to go outside of class, and I like picking out the weeds and getting to plant things,” Naoli said. “We all planted the seeds and helped out. I like getting to work with my friends. It will also be cool if we get to taste [the vegetables].”
Hancock Park Elementary School volunteer Mark Harelik, drafted a proposal to secure a $25,000 grant from the SEEDS program.
“Mark was instrumental in helping us start SEEDS Farm,” Glass said. “He really spearheaded the project and helped support us. We were so thrilled and he took the leadership role to divide the plots and open it up to interested teachers.”
According to LaMonte Douglas, regional facilities director for L.A. Unified, the curriculum component for a project must be developed in collaboration with the school principal and teachers and be approved by the local district area superintendent.
The SEEDS Program offers $5 million in LAUSD labor, materials and project management costs, he said, and schools can be awarded up to $35,000 for projects.
Douglas said SEEDS was created to support sustainable school projects because LAUSD believes its important to expand educational opportunities.
“Usually students are confined in the four walls of a classroom,” Douglas said. “With projects like [SEEDS Farm] students can get outside and learn about their curriculum through hands-on experience.”
Parker and Glass said they are excited to see how students will tend to the garden.
“The garden means we’re giving the students a space to learn and grow,” Parker said. “We are able to teach them better when they can see firsthand what they’re learning about.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.