- Author: Rachel A. Surls
Today, it's the most populous urban county in the U.S., with more than 10 million residents. But not that long ago, Los Angeles was the largest farm county in the country. A part of L.A.'s preeminence in agriculture during the first half of the 20th century was its focus on small-scale, home-based farms. In fact, Los Angeles was home to a movement which was a precursor to present-day interest in urban sustainability.
The trend was called “Small Farm Homes”, or “Little Farms,” and gained momentum in the 1920s, then continued full-force for several decades. As the population of Los Angeles County mushroomed, and real estate boomed, subdivisions were developed with micro farming in mind. Many homes were constructed on lots of...
- Author: Chris M. Webb
A wonderful example of community coming together in partnership to grow good food has taken root in Oxnard, Calif.
Last year, in an effort to reduce costs while improving the taste and nutrition of meals, the Senior Nutrition Program began growing their own tomatoes. They set up their garden with the help of UC Master Gardeners on a quarter-acre behind the Juvenile Justice Center.
The program began when the County of Ventura Area Agency on Aging, which serves over 200,000 meals annually through senior nutrition programs, collaborated with the Probation Agency Juvenile Justice Facility staff to create this positive program. As word of the project has spread many business and organizations have come forward to donate...
- Author: Rachel A. Surls
The Baldwin Park Community Garden sits in the shadow of the San Bernardino Freeway in Eastern Los Angeles County. As the cars rush by, an effective and innovative community garden grows. A unique public-private partnership has made this garden possible to benefit the community and local children.
The garden, which is approximately a quarter acre in size, has both school and community plots. The land and financial support are provided by Kaiser Permanente. The City of Baldwin Park helps to maintain the garden. The Baldwin Park Unified School District uses the garden to engage fourth graders from four classrooms at two elementary schools in hands-on nutrition education through a project called “The Moveable Feast.”
- Author: Rose Hayden-Smith
Recently, UC’s Agricultural Sustainability Institute gave me the opportunity to visit Grant Union High School in Sacramento to learn about their GEO Environmental and Design Academy, which includes a gardening and cooking program.
The school is in an economically challenged area, and about half the students are English language learners.
Teacher Ann Marie Kennedy said something interesting about the students enrolled in the program: “They are disconnected from agriculture, but they are not disconnected from food.”
The Grant garden is essentially a shared school and community garden, which I believe is one of the best models...
- Author: Dohee Kim
An innovative pilot gardening project, "LA Sprouts," produced significant improvements in the health of the participating children. They gained less weight than their peers who did not participate and saw a significant improvement in their body mass index. Equally important, motivation to eat and preferences for fruits and vegetables increased. Students learned about soil health, watering, recycling, and how to plan a garden, compost and cook what they grew.
With funding from the Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Los Angeles, researchers from USC and UCLA, and master gardeners from UC Cooperative Extension's Common Ground Garden Program offered...