learn / 2018
Healing City Soils and Sowing Seeds for Tomorrow
Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.
We are leveraging the healing and therapeutic benefits of gardening, composting, and healthy cooking to create safe and inspiring learning sanctuaries in schools and public places. Our garden education programming starts under our feet through compost education that rebuilds soil one invisible microbe and fungi at a time. Our gardens and compost hubs at high schools and public parks are a proof of concept for entrepreneur empowerment education and job training benefitting 16-24 year old youth.
Which of the learn metrics will your activation impact?
- District-wide graduation rates
- Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
- Youth unemployment and underemployment
Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?
- LA is the best place to CREATE
- LA is the best place to CONNECT
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
- South LA
How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?
- Trainings and/or in-person engagements
- Influence individual behavior
- Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
- Increase involvement in growing food and composting food waste
Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to learn?
We intend to co-create with our partners learning environments that transform people, place, and community through collaborative efforts directed to healing our city soils, growing good food, and designing educational experiences that lead to meaningful work, career exploration, and entrepreneur empowerment.
DISTRICT-WIDE GRADUATION RATES improve when students and families feel connected to their school, teachers, and other personnel. Our school-based healing gardens and compost hubs connect young people and their families with the earth and her bounty, providing almost immediate tangible rewards for their physical effort, routine attendance, and mindful presence. The collective effort required to manage a school builds social cohesion and acts as the glue that holds together a community of learners together that support and care for one another as they support and care for their plants. Gardening and compost curriculum aligned to academic content in science, technology, engineering, art and math creates “Aha!” moments with promising potential to the bridge learning gap, motivate learners, and promote success in school. In sum, academic success, meaningful connections to school and peers, and strong community of learners can drive up school graduation rates.
PROFICIENCY IN ENGLISH, LANGUAGE ARTS, AND MATH are supported by Proyecto Jardin’s gardening and composting curriculum. Participants maintain garden journals and compost logs to track inputs, outputs, record observations, and summarize outcomes. They measure, weigh, illustrate, and write to describe, reflect, analyze, synthesize, report, and share. Proyecto Jardin works closely with a school site teacher(s) to align the organization’s garden/compost education program to the specific needs of participating classroom(s) and school-wide goals and objectives. Our outdoor garden/compost “classrooms” at schools sites and in public parks rely on hands-on, experiential learning, adding a tangible quality to abstract academic concepts.
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT & UNDEREMPLOYMENT are addressed through meaningful education that can lead to meaningful work as a Certified Compost Maker or a community/school garden coordinator. Our Compost Academy is a comprehensive 8-week course that prepares individuals for entry-level employment as a compost hub manager, compost associate, or vermi-culture (worm farm) practitioner.
In addition, classes and workshops offered at Grand Park in collaboration with the Grand Park Foundation in conjunction with their Grand Park Rangers program provide a gateway to stewardship of the earth and promote individual commitment to care for, protect, and engage more deeply with their urban parks, green spaces, and nature.
How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to learn
Our new garden installations and compost hubs at schools and public spaces (i.e. parks) engages teachers, students, parents, and administrators in building healthy, robust communities of learners.
Through gardening, people connect with the earth and build common ground as they learn to care for one another, love their school, and pursue academic greatness because they know their education will lead to good job while simultaneously healing their city soils and producing fresh delicious food.
Our strategies leverage cross-sector partnerships through sharing of resources, knowledge, and social networks to promote sustainability, resilient communities, and learning across disciplines.
We take expand the learning environment beyond the four walls of a traditional classroom and conventional instruction practices to address the wholistic needs of learners who carry historical trauma and experience daily stressful living environments.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.
We define success as:
(1) The degree to change in personal and community knowledge about gardening, composting, and career options in these fields.
(2) Social cohesion and participation in school and/or community activities and events,
(3) Successful installation of 3 new school gardens and compost hubs, and reactivation of an additional 3 gardens/compost hubs that fallen into disrepair and neglect due to lack of funds, resources and/or interest.
Our measures of success include:
Participant Attendance: sign in sheets; school attendance records.
Change in knowledge, attitude, beliefs: Pre- and post surveys and quick writes about gardening knowledge, composting knowledge,
Career Options Awareness & Aspirations: Focus group before and after participating in the Compost Academy and one season of gardening.
Personal Efficacy: Pre- and post survey of personal power to affect change in their personal, academic, and social life.
Collective Efficacy: Pre-post survey of collective efficacy (community power to affect change)
3 new gardens installed and 3 existing underutilized gardens reactivated.
Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?
In 5 years, Proyecto Jardin will operate school gardens and compost in 10 public schools and provide ongoing technical assistance and support.