live / 2016

Building LA’s underserved communities from the ground up!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Community Healing Gardens

Community Healing Gardens is creating a sustainable, urban school garden in Watts that grows healthy food, clean water, jobs, connection, community & love


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Edwin Markham Middle School

Please describe your project proposal.

Community Healing Gardens (CHG) is building an urban farm called the “Watts Healing Garden” on a one-acre piece of land at Edwin Markham Middle School in Watts - Also known as the “food desert” of Los Angeles.

In collaboration with Markham Middle School, CHG is embarking on a three-year project to create a sustainable, working farm that provides healthy food, jobs, and an eductional safe place to promote mental, physical, and human and planetary healing.

All things grow with LOVE.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Access to healthy food
  • Exposure to air toxins
  • Healthcare access
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Obesity
  • Local water
  • Resilient communities
  • Tree canopy cover
  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences
  • Homelessness
  • Mental illness

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA
  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

Community Healing Gardens will make LA the best place to LIVE by building a sustainable, thriving production farm for the school and community in Watts.

We believe every empty patch of soil has the potential to feed and educate people about nutrition, sustainability, connection, art, community and love.

The Watts Healing Garden at Markham Middle School is a three-year project plan by Community Healing Gardens with a goal of building a self-sustaining business for the community. Our vision is to create a “blueprint” for building a successful community garden that we can duplicate within other underserved communities and schools all over Los Angeles.

Why Watts? Known as the “Food Desert” of Los Angeles, Watts is an underserved neighborhood located in the streets of South Central Los Angeles. This 2.12 miles wide neighborhood is a dense pocket of crime, poverty and gangs with very limited access to healthy food choices for low-income children and their families. The rate of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity are prevalent in the community. Also, South LA neighborhoods like Watts, have some of the highest pollution rates in the state.

A vital component of the plan is the partnerships we are forming with key stakeholders in the community including: Cedar Sinai’s Coach for Kids, Boy’s & Girls Club After School Program, Watts Healthy Farmers Market, I (Heart) Watts, Watts Neighborhood Council, Locol (Roy Choi’s new local restaurant) and the Watts Gang Task Force.

Thi summer, we launched the pilot stages of the garden, including 25+ food producing trees and 15+ rows of food built with kids from the summer school programs in the garden. This fall, two school programs, the Pre-Med and MESA Program (STEM), will be using the garden as a “Learning Space’ for classrooms. Additional gardening programs will be launched in early 2017 in partnership with the school.

Year two plans include installing Sky Water, a water system and technology game changer creating water made from air that produces over 300 gallons of water per day. This system will rely solely on solar energy and supply the much-needed access to clean, healthy water. The results will include a much higher rate of food production and increase jobs opporunities as well.

The Watts Healing Garden will grow healthy food, create jobs, improve the local environment, grow future farmers from the school, and develop a more inclusive local economy in Watts and the surrounding South Central Los Angeles area. Community Healing Gardens will take this “blueprint” and grow it in other underserved schools and communities in Los Angeles. This will make LA the best place to LIVE!

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Community Healing Gardens aims to build a sustainable community garden in Watts. To measure our success, we will base it on the following metrics: *Amount of food grown that is provided to the community and sold through the market, track by weight and distribution. *Number of students participating in classes or after-school programs held in the garden. *Number of teachers involved with the garden. *Number of local citizens volunteering in the garden. *Number of jobs created and people employed by the garden *Amount of product and revenue generated by sales of produce and products made from the garden resources (oils, herb boxes, etc.)

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support