Melrose Elementary Make-Over

Melrose Elementary Garden

A Melrose Extreme-Make-Over?

No, not nip-and-tuck one normally thinks of in the 90210, but instead, huge improvements being planned for Melrose Elementary Schools organic garden.

Melrose Elementary garden
Students in the garden at Melrose Elementary

Thanks to a generous grant from EnrichLA, the school will be able to make several important upgrades to its current campus garden.  Eight new garden beds will mean each class can now have its own garden space.  Installing an irrigation system will help the school avoid lapses in the watering schedule over school breaks.  Other improvements such as picnic tables, a washing/prep station, and 2-3 new citrus trees will improve the students’ experience in the garden.  Finally, new fencing and a gate will protect and give the school garden a sense-of-place.

To accomplish all of these new improvements however, a minimum of 25 community volunteers are needed on Saturday March 15 in two shifts:  25 people from 9 am – 12:30 pm, and 25 from 12:30 – 4 pm.  Sign up on the EnrichLA link on the school’s homepage at www.melrosestars.org.

We hope to accomplish many things with this build.  In a way, we’re trying to increase our green footprint:  Increased garden space allows for more educational opportunities to increase awareness about the importance of well balanced nutrition.  We want to expose children to new fruits and vegetables, to provide garden space for each individual classroom, greater range for our teachers to create project-based learning programs.  We want our children to have a greater connection to the food they’re eating, where it comes from, the work involved in producing it.  We want to strengthen our ties to the community by inviting people to participate.  We’re hoping to establish partnerships with local restaurants by providing them with fresh herbs and vegetables.  And if should we be lucky enough to have a surplus, to send fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need. – Josh Koch, parent at Melrose Elementary

Melrose Elementary
The school needs community volunteers working alongside the school to fulfill l the grant.

Part of LAUSD, Melrose Elementary is a Match/Science/Technology Magnet school. A driving component of Melrose’s curriculum has been Project Based Learning in which students are encouraged to gain real world experience and participate in “Interest Driven Projects.”  The school has been named an Apple Distinguished School, with 75% of their students advanced or proficient in math. Besides working the school garden, students record their observations and make sketches in their science notebooks.  Certain produce is used in the cafeteria salad bar.

So whether or not you know a hectare from a jicama, here’s a chance to invest positive energy in your community by coming out to the March 15th Garden Make-Over.

Melrose Elementary School
731 N. Detroit Street (at Melrose)
Saturday March 15, 2014
Two shifts: 9 am- 12:30 pm, and 12:30 pm – 4 pm

Photos courtesy of Enrich LA and Melrose Elementary School.

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About Renee Montgomery

Renee Montgomery began researching historic men's waistcoats at LACMA in 1979 as an intern, and is still at the museum as an Assistant Director in administration. She's written for various local media and museum publications, focusing on 'small town pockets' in urban L.A. She resides in Lafayette Square and has one daughter, a professional ballet dancer. Having never lost her zeal for her 'aggie' San Gabriel Valley/Riverside upbringing, Renee currently sells citrus and homegrown produce to support dog rescue efforts.

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