Friday, December 28, 2012

Garden School Foundation Internship

From January 2012 to May 2012, I was an intern with the Garden School Foundation, a non-profit L.A. based organization which creates gardens and teaches garden-based curriculum on campuses soon throughout L.A. Unified School District. GSF seeks to integrate LAUSD curriculum with gardening and cooking skills. The organization currently operates a 3/4th acre garden on the schoolyard of 24th Street Elementary School in the West Adams District of Los Angeles.

My acceptance of the internship entailed working in the garden under a garden manager, assisting in teaching gardening and cooking classes, writing for the garden blog, in addition to my personal project of designing a gardening and cooking journal. For five months I worked alongside other interns, students, parents, teachers, and volunteers in the community. 

The majority demographic of students are Hispanic and African American. Most are home to low-income families. The garden is a place of solace to them, a place of peace and play, in an otherwise noisy concrete jungle. It would take a blog in and of itself to fully describe my time there, so instead, I will briefly highlight my experiences with a few quotes from my gardening journal and photos. 

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

"They [garden managers] work really hard and well to be organized and make big dreams come true. I'm happy to be a part of the team, especially at a time when it is growing so rapidly, becoming a leader in the L.A. community, and expanding. It's an exciting time indeed, even evermore for me that I am touching upon and discovering more of something I love to do, to be a part of and care about. 

I am going to work really hard to make this journal project that I am tackling the best for these kids, who are the sweetest, and for this organization, that has truly warmed my heart in the short time that I have been here. It's been a privilege and honor to be a part of."

Garden Art from Margaretta's after school class.

Like a maestro, my fellow intern and friend plants seedlings. 

Builders of the greenhouse over at Widney High.
Photo By: Julia Cotts

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

"Today is going to be a great day. I can smell it in the air. Today is also going to be a busy day. I'm at 24th St. Elementary School awaiting my yoga session with one of the other interns Kathryn, to begin. She's a cool new friend I'm glad I made. It's 7:00 a.m. and I awoke at 5:30 a.m. this morning to get ready, make coffee etc. was on the road by 6:00 a.m. and made it to 24th St. Elementary by 7:00 a.m.

I will write and read until I do some yoga in the garden with Kathryn, and before our work day in the garden begins at 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. then I have to hussle from 4:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Shabu Shabu (restaurant in Santa Monica), and have a double tomorrow. I'm so fortunate to be in the midst of all these great opportunities."
My good friend Kat and I in Glacier National Park.
Photo By: Raul Orrostieta

I helped make paper for 5th graders. 

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

"The garden is a place of magical energy that takes a lot of big dreams, big hearts, hard work, and lots of love to keep special."
A bouquet of sweet peas, lavender and yarrow.

Sunflowers were in bloom during summer. 

Here is an onion flower. 

Wednesday, February 14th, 2012

"Happy Valentine's Day World! Today is a beautiful and sunny day, the birds are chirping and my body is surged with high-spirits and pure joy. 

I am so happy right here and right now, in this very moment, at 23, a woman, a gardener, a surfer, a lover, a fighter, a yogi, a seeker of all things true both beautiful and ugly. 

For once in my life I really feel like I'm living in the moment CARPE DIEM! Living fully and intently, adventuring in the garden at 24th Street and in the deep jungle and warm waters of Costa Rica, and even in the uncharted places of my heart.

I am really happy and have never been more proud of myself for what I have accomplished, will accomplish and what I am accomplishing."
Here is one view of a few garden beds and part of school. 

This student conducts a camouflage study. 

Students write wish flags during annual Fiesta De La Huerta.

It is believed that as threads unravel, wishes come true.

*Photos By Tiffanie Ma, unless otherwise noted.

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