The Environmental Media Association (EMA), LA Conservation Corps and LAUSD have an ongoing partnership to support gardens and greenery in urban schools across Los Angeles. EMA directly supports over sixteen school gardens through funding and celebrity mentoring via EMA’s Young Hollywood Board and Parent Board.
The program first launched on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood. Our long term goal is to sponsor and support garden programs in school districts throughout the country. As new sponsors come on board, EMA adopts additional schools. Continue to check back to the EMA website for updates on the ongoing development of the gardens.
The Short Answer…
They’re great for children’s development.
EMA believes that students don’t just have to learn within the confines of four walls, but that education can take place in a dynamic atmosphere that engages them in a unique and creative fashion. School gardens provide the perfect opportunity to do just that by providing an interdisciplinary and student-centered experience that enriches their learning experience in a “living classroom.”
In many urban areas, children are surrounded by cement and asphalt. The natural environment is behind fences or windows and not available for hands-on exploration. As a result, there is a disconnect between the children and the environment. A recent survey by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom found that more than 60% of children surveyed thought that cotton comes from sheep and that vegetables come from the store. From reading, to science, math, and nutrition everything is possible in the hands-on laboratory of a school garden.
School gardens offer an experiential curriculum that can be tailored to a teacher’s needs and students’ abilities. Math, science, nutrition, health and fitness can all be taught through the use of these gardens and provide a fun environment in which learning becomes so much more than books and quizzes. Learning becomes an adventure.
According to the California Department of Education, over 77 percent of students in environment-based education programs, such as school gardens, scored higher than their peers across all standardized tests and had higher grade point averages. Students taking part in garden programs experience other benefits as well. Students are reported to have greater self-confidence, leadership and social skills, and also exhibit higher interest in volunteerism and community spirit.
It turns out that students who participate in the program discover fresh food, make healthier food choices, and are more physically active. Children who plant and harvest their own fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat them. The first step in developing healthier eating patterns is to increase students’ desire to taste vegetables in the first place.
EMA & LAUSD: Get to Know Your Local School Gardens
Find out more about the schools participating in the EMA School Gardens program:
- 186th Street Elementary School
- Brooklyn Early Education Center
- Calvert Street Elementary School
- Carson Senior High School
- Carthay Center Elementary School
- Cochran Middle School
- Eliot Middle School
- Helen Bernstein High School
- Marvin Avenue Elementary School
- Metropolitan High School
- Nueva Esperanza Charter Academy
- Queen Anne Elementary School
- Saturn Street Elementary School
- University High School
- Venice Senior High School
- Westminster Avenue Elementary School
The Impact of the Young Hollywood Board
Young actors and actresses serve as role models to millions of people, especially youth. Through their actions, celebrities can inspire youth in their formative years, and EMA has recruited celebrities to the program to mentor and actively engage the students in the garden programs.
From planting and tending the gardens to speaking to students about healthy eating choices, board members including Amy Smart, Malin Akerman, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rosario Dawson, Ali Larter, Rachel Lefevre, Nicole Richie, Matthew Rhys, Emily VanCamp, and Olivia Wilde inspire the children and share in the joy they experience from the gardens.
Watch the School Gardens program launch video:
EMA School Gardens Partners & Sponsors
EMA School Gardens would not be possible without our partners and sponsors: