A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California Education Standards

seddlings

The California Department of Education has a free publication for downloading regarding school gardens and curriculum. A Child’s Garden of Standards: Linking School Gardens to California Education Standards links garden-based education activities selected from several published educational materials to specific academic content standards for grades two through six in science, history/social sciences, mathematics, and English language arts.

Free download version available here (PDF; 5.22MB; 112pp.)

Chayote Harvest

chayote vine

Chayote never met a fence it did not like or could not cover. The longest vines are well over 10 ft long. It’s amazing to believe it all started from one chayote fruit planted in early spring.

chayote fence

Approximately six months later we are now harvesting the beginning of what appears to be a huge harvest. We just need to be careful not to allow the fruit to grow through the fence.

chayote female flower

Chayote is in the Cucurbitaceae family aka squash family which means seperate male and female flowers. The female flower is easily distinguishable by the baby fruit (ovary) sitting at the base waiting to be pollinated.

The harvest will last approximately 2-3 months depending on the weather, after which the plant will die back. At that point we will prune aggressively for the winter and allow this perennial to resume its growth the following spring.

How to Sell Produce at a Certified Farmer’s Market

winter squash

For any school or urban gardener wishing to sell produce at a Los Angeles County Certified Farmer’s Market a Producer’s Certificate from the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner Weights & Measures Department is mandatory.

First step is to call their South Gate office at 562-622-0402 and arrange for an inspection. An inspector would them come out to view the product and estimate production. If the school or individual then puts in another crop in the Spring, the inspector would then have to come out again to view the crop and estimate production. The annual cost for the certificate is $63.00.

I had several questions regarding this certificate. Ibrahim Abdel, Pest Exclusion & Produce Quality/ Agricultural /Weights & Measures Inspector was kind enough to answer.

1) Is a certificate necessary to sell the produce to a restaurant?

The certificate is not required to sell your products to a restaurant or at school.  If you sell the products to a restaurant without having the certificate, then you are not exempt from the standard size and the labeling for the products.  If you have a certificate and want to sell the products to a restaurant, you have to provide the restaurant with a receipt showing your name, the commodity, the amount sold and the price in this case, you are exempt from the standard container and the product labeling.

2) Is a certificate necessary to sell the produce at the school?

No, the certificate is only required to sell your products at a certified farmers’ market (CFM).

3) If I have a garden at my home or community garden would I also need a permit to sell at the farmer’s market or am I covered by the Los Angeles City Ordinance 181188 (aka Food and Flower Act)? My understanding is the certificate is only necessary to sell at the farmer’s market. To sell to a restaurant or others I do not need a certificate. Is this correct?

Yes. To sell the products grown at your home at a CFM, you need a certificate.

4) Last question, if a school (or homeowner) is to sell to a restaurant without a certificate how do they compose the standard size and product labeling? What is required?

You can find the requirement for each product in the California Code of Regulations, Title 3, Division 3, Chapter 1.

Basically the following is required:

1) A declaration of identity – the name specified by applicable Federal or State law or regulation, or common name, or generic name or other appropriate description of the commodity.

2) A declaration of responsibility – that includes the name, address, and zip code of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, however, the street address may be omitted if this is shown in a current city directory or telephone directory.

3) A declaration of quantity – by count or measure.

For further information visit the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner Weights and Measures website.

Flowers for a School Garden

snapdragons

Snapdragons

There is no rule that says school gardens should only be about edible plants. Adding flowers to row ends or borders, containers and window-boxes is a great way to add color and beauty to any outdoor classroom. Since we are planting in the fall and want flowers fairly quickly we are limited to what varieties we can grow.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

The following is a list of easy to grow annuals that all can be planted now and will flower within the school year:

Bachelor Buttons, Calendula, Nasturtiums, Pansies, Phlox, Poppies, Snap Dragons, Stocks, & Violas

stocks

Stocks

School Gardening Program Specialist – LAUSD job announcement

Los Angeles Unified School District would like to announce the recruitment for School Gardening Program Specialist.

The ideal candidate will have experience in developing and implementing K-12 school educational garden projects which include community, edible, instructional, literacy, or multi-functional gardens. The ideal candidate will also demonstrate the ability to build strong, collaborative partnerships with various community stakeholders and other entities in order to raise awareness, garner cooperation, and raise funds for school garden spaces for the District. Extensive knowledge of innovative sustainable garden practices is highly desirable.

Minimum requirements include four years of experience assisting in the coordination of activities for school or community gardening programs with multiple sites, or experience planning, funding and implementing sustainable schoolyard projects and initiatives; and a bachelor’s degree.

Please visit www.lausdjobs.org for more information.

Application deadline is October 12, 2011.

Feel free to contact Katie.wong@lausd.net if you have any questions regarding this information.

Katie Wong, Human Resources Specialist
Personnel Commission-Talent Acquisition & Selection
Los Angeles Unified School District
Tel: 213-241-5549 Fax: 213-241-8038
Katie.wong@lausd.net

School Garden Volunteers

Let’s face it, every school needs volunteers, the more the better. For school garden help, first place I would look is your own student body. Getting just one student to commit to irrigation or weeding on some type of schedule is huge. Second place I would look is the parent organization. Send an email to your base and tell them your needs.  You will not get any help unless you ask for it. Third place is your community. Use your neighborhood councils to gain access to your local homeowner associations. Send them an announcement as well. Last and best place is your local Master Gardener office. They supply the technical expertise you require to succeed.

In Los Angeles, you would fill out the form below and send it to Yvonne Savio, head of the UC Cooperative Extension’s Common Ground Garden Program. Her email is ydsavio@ucdavis.edu

REQUEST FOR MASTER GARDENER TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Please fill out the form below and email back to me. I’ll forward to the Master Gardener volunteers, and anyone who’s interested will contact you directly. Be sure to include a lot of detail in the “Help Requested” section so MGs can determine whether their skills match your needs! And, be aware that Master Gardeners advise and instruct but don’t do labor. Also, most MGs already have their own volunteer projects, so may not be available.

Day and Date — for example, Saturday, June 14, 2010
Time — for example, 10am-12noon
Activity Name — for example, Baldwin Hills Garden Club meeting
Sponsoring Group — for example, Baldwin Hills Garden Club
Location Address — for example, Baldwin Hills Branch Library, 2906 S. La Brea Avenue, LA 90016
Help Requested (provide lots of detail) — for example, Seasonal Vegetable Gardening Presentation
Anticipated Attendance (so we bring enough handouts) – for example, 50 adults
Contact — for example, Yvonne Savio
Contact Phone and Email — for example, 323-260-3407, ydsavio@…

School Garden Grants Resource List

School Garden

Are you interested in building a school garden and could use a little financial help? Or maybe you already have a school garden and wish to expand. The following is a list of grants available specifically for school gardens or sites that list school garden grants on a continuing basis. See previous post about Tips to Get a School Garden grant.

1) GardenABCs.com – School and Community Garden Grants

2) KidsGardening.org List of Grants and Fundraising

3) San Diego County Master Gardener Association – Calendar of Grants Available to School Gardens

4) Annies.com Grants for Gardens

5) California Fertilizer Foundation – California School Garden Grants

6) CommunityGarden.org – Grant Sources and Fundraising

7) Green Education Foundation – Youth Gardening Grants

8) Western Growers – School Garden Grants

9) Wild Ones – Seeds for Education: Grants for School Gardens and Community Nature Areas