- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
An inner-city Los Angeles school has a small vegetable garden that is overseen by a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, according to a story published yesterday in the Daily Breeze.
"This may be the only place they can have access to nature," the story quoted Master Gardener Kris Lauritson. "It's an outdoor classroom."
The school serves primarily Latino students; about 80 percent qualify for free and reduced lunches.
The program teaches students about healthy diets and gives them a chance to taste fresh foods they may not normally have at home. Students eat what they grow - turnips and broccoli, lettuce and spinach, soybeans, potatoes and cabbage.
Alice Acevedo, a school office worker observing the students as they worked in the garden, told reporter Douglas Morino the kids won't touch fresh fruits and vegetables put out in the cafeteria at lunch.
"But once they grow it themselves, they can't get enough. They're taking pride in what they're doing," Acevedo was quoted.
Los Angeles County's 181 Master Gardeners volunteered 9,272 hours in 2008, serving 87,376 low-income gardeners at 28 community gardens, 46 school gardens, 15 shelter gardens, 5 senior gardens and 13 fairs and farmers markets. For more information on the program and its services, see the LA Common Ground Web site.
It's worth clicking through to the Daily Breeze to see the photographs that accompany the school garden story. The off-axis, vivid and creative images are uncommon in photojournalism. I asked ANR Communications Services media services manager Mike Poe about the trendy garden art.
He said a lot of hip, cool, current video is shot that way.
"The photos are emulating that style to appeal to a young audience or indicate the subject is young," Poe said. "It's a technique I'd use very judiciously."
The school garden story and photos also appeared in the Pasadena Star-News.