75 School Gardens in Los Angeles Schools!

Winning submission by shanaenrichla

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):


Organization website:


Organization Twitter handle:


Organization Facebook page:


Organization Instagram:


Describe your organization (Check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization



In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


EnrichLA builds edible gardens and green spaces in local schools, and provides garden based education in these schools!

Please describe yourself (Check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.


EnrichLA will reach our goal of building 75 school gardens, and will offer our Garden Ranger Program to at least 5,500 additional students!

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


We are building 11 new gardens that will receive our Garden Ranger Program - offering garden based ed to THOUSANDS of LA kids!

Does your project impact Los Angeles County? Check only one.

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)


Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay



What is your idea/project in more detail?


Our LA2050 project is to reach a goal of building 75 edible school gardens in Los Angeles schools! To accomplish this, we will build 11 new edible gardens and offer the Garden Ranger Program at 11 new schools!

EnrichLA builds edible gardens and green spaces in local schools across Los Angeles, with a particular focus on low-income and under-served neighborhoods. Our gardens offer thousands of Los Angeles youth in park-poor communities access to green, outdoor spaces, and healthy, active education.

Through our Garden Ranger Program, children engage in hands-on learning within their own schoolyard. Access to edible gardens, coupled with garden education, encourages children to make healthier choices – at school and beyond.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?


EnrichLA has a significant track record for designing, building, and providing programming at schools across Los Angeles. Within the last 3 years, EnrichLA has built over 60 gardens in Los Angeles schools, and in the 2013-2014 school year, we offered our Garden Ranger Program at 25 schools.

To implement this project, we will identify 11 schools that want an edible school garden within their schoolyard. We already have a wait-list of schools so this will not be a problem. Once the needs of the individual school have been identified, and a garden design created, we work with a crew of volunteers to transform the garden space in the span of a single day! Our volunteer groups are made up of students, staff, and parents, local community members, as well as volunteer groups such as Gay 4 Good, Do Good Bus, UCLA Volunteers, USC Helenes, and more!

The next step will be to hire additional Garden Rangers that serve at these sites. These Garden Rangers are educated and experienced, and they are thoroughly trained in our Garden Ranger curriculum and EnrichLA standards so as to offer the best possible experience to students. The Garden Rangers will then provide weekly garden classes and garden maintenance at these schools, as well as organize community workshops and work days.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to play today? In 2050?


Our motto is to put “A Garden in Every School” and thereby with every school garden we create, we are offering students, parents, teachers, and community members the opportunity to play, and with that play, to live and learn. The beauty of our endeavor is that with every garden we create, we are in effect establishing an incubator for new opportunities; for communities to come together over a garden work day, for teachers to become stewards of the environment, and for children to become acquainted, by the sweat of their own brow, with those fruits and vegetables that will most nourish them.

In less than three years EnrichLA has converted over 60 parcels of unused open space into productive gardens at Los Angeles’ most needy schools. Over the course of the next school year EnrichLA plans to build 11 new gardens at 11 schools, making our total number of school gardens built 75. That means acres of asphalt removed, acres of green space available to families otherwise unable to access parks, and acres of crops to nourish thousands of families otherwise without access to healthy options.

Beyond the immediate benefit of creating garden space, EnrichLA fosters lasting connections with the schools it partners with--through community workshops, providing consistent garden maintenance, and through the implementation of our “Garden Ranger” program. Slated for 35 schools in the 2014-2015 school year, the “Garden Ranger” program engages whole classrooms in garden-based education. Students become acquainted with healthy foods (some of which, like beets and artichokes, students had prior never been exposed to) and concepts of environmental stewardship, all the while pursuing a curriculum that meets the standards of a California education.

In 2050, LA will have a garden in every single one of its schools. Many schools will maintain urban farms, the produce from which will supplement greatly the food available through school lunches. In 2050, every single one of these schools will maintain a robust garden-based educational curriculum, with home-grown and EnrichLA Garden Rangers working side by side to acquaint the next generation of Angelenos with the food that sustains a healthy and robust society. By the end of their secondary education, Angelenos of the 2050’s will be environmentally conscious and environmentally active horticulturalists, nutritionists, ecologists, and socially responsible members of their community.

Whom will your project benefit? Please be specific.


The expansion of our Garden Ranger Program to eleven new schools will offer the program to a minimum of 5,500 students who previously lacked access to a school garden and to our Garden Ranger Program.

Although the Garden Ranger Program primarily targets youth in schools, the gardens we create are available to the entire community as a launching pad for further collaboration. We have seen how parents, teachers, teens, and children of all backgrounds will come together to build a garden from scratch within a single day.

By building new edible gardens and green spaces in these 11 schools, thousands of school students, teachers, staff, and parents will have access to an outdoor space where they can live, learn, and play. These green spaces offer people in park-poor communities with access to green space.

Schools themselves benefit from the garden; the Garden Ranger Program improves their campus aesthetic and has the ability to improve their academic standing. We have seen firsthand how the installation of a garden at Thomas Starr King Middle School brought about such a change in the school environment and morale that school’s API jumped from the 600’s to well over 800 in a matter of 5 years. Science classes gain an outdoor laboratory with which they can conduct real-world experiments, children have a new outdoor area to play during recess, some teachers take their lunches to the garden, and neighbors help maintain the space. In short, the entire community benefits.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


EnrichLA has worked with partners such as Kaiser Permanente, St. Johns Wellness Center, LAUSD Facilities, Whole Foods, Whole Kids Foundation, Tree People, and more. EnrichLA is open to new and continuing partnerships as we hope to partner with like-minded organizations concerned with offering edible education and green spaces to local students.

How will your project impact the LA2050 "PLAY" metrics?

Access to open space and park facilities

Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs

Per capita crime rates

Percentage of residents that feel safe in their neighborhoods

Attendance at major league sporting events

Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park (Dream Metric)

Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park (Dream Metric)

Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities (Dream Metric)

Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)


Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

EnrichLA has a particular interest in building edible school gardens in some of Los Angeles' most park-poor communities. Many of our schools are built in areas with little to no green space. Our school gardens change that.

These gardens act as outdoor classrooms, cheer-up school campuses, and connect children with the source of their food. Children have commented that they feel "safe" in the garden. The school garden offers them not only the opportunity to grow foods, but also to play and learn in an active, outdoor green space.

Community workshops and work days will offer community members (from all walks of life) the opportunity to enjoy the gardens as well.

Please select which other LA2050 Goals are relevant to your project or organization (check all that apply):

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.


EnrichLA will refine some existing methods of evaluation and roll out some new methods during the 2014-2015 school year.

1) We will evaluate our impact by developing a student-centered survey to measure changes in students who attend schools that receive EnrichLA’s Garden Ranger programming. We will track changes in access to fresh, healthy foods, the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed per day, attitudes toward environmental responsibility, as well as time spent in the garden or in outdoor classroom settings. The USDA has partnered with Colorado Farm-to-School to develop evaluation tools for school farm/gardening programming. We will utilize these tools to develop an effective survey method.

2) We will track the amount of fruits and vegetables that are harvested from our gardens, as well as tracking where these fruits and vegetables go (to students, community members, food banks, etc.).

3) We will track the number of students who are not participating in the Garden Ranger Program that have access to and that utilize the garden space. We will track the number of teachers that utilize the garden space for educational purposes outside of the Garden Ranger Program, and we will also track the number of community members that engage in the garden and in garden workshops and work days.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?


Through our experience with building school gardens and offering garden education at Los Angeles Schools, we have discovered a variety of benefits, some un-planned.

Our initial garden at Thomas Starr King Middle School revealed that something as simple as an edible school garden can bring together a community, to rally for the benefit of its children. The school garden was one of the catalysts that led this school from an API in the 600's to an API of 843. With that initial garden, we realized the importance of bringing together outside actors to help improve school campuses.

Additionally, we have realized the importance of connecting children with the source of their food. By having a hands-on role in planting, tending to, harvesting, and preparing these fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables, children are more likely to try them, more likely to enjoy them, and more likely to eat them - at school AND at home.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.


In three years, EnrichLA has established edible gardens in over 60 schools and has successfully implemented our Garden Ranger Program at 25 schools. With an average of 21 schools a year, we are confident that adding 11 more gardens/green spaces and 11 more Garden Ranger programs in Los Angeles is an achievable goal.

EnrichLA employs educated, dedicated, and thoroughly trained Garden Rangers. Rangers not only maintain garden standards throughout the year, but more importantly they act as an EnrichLA ambassador to the surrounding communities. Our Garden Ranger Program is the driving force that will help us reach a minimum of 5,500 youth. Garden Rangers introduce the edible gardens to school faculty, parents, students, and nearby neighborhood by enlisting help from the community to keep the garden a healthy and flourishing environment. Under the Garden Ranger’s instruction, the EnrichLA curriculum touches on common core and state science standards, all the while students are outside, having fun, and learning lasting skills that they will carry throughout their lives.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?


EnrichLA has worked with over 60 schools to design and build edible school gardens. We have a good relationship with LAUSD facilities and with school staff and administrators. Over the last 3 years, we have proven what we are able to accomplish and we have no doubt that we have in place a streamlined process for bringing edible school gardens and garden programming to Los Angeles schools.

Our only barriers are ones that, in a garden, cannot be avoided! Pests and irrigation issues will always pop-up, but we have an educated, dedicated, and hardworking team that is capable of tackling any issues that may arise.

What resources does your project need? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

20 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

As part of one of the teams who entered LA2050 I say: heartfelt congratulations. GOOD choice! Wonderful project.

by mrenda
over 1 year ago

I am a landscaper and my children go to Las Flores Educational center in Bellflower. We have spot but could really use your training to grow this spot into a thriving edible organic gardening. Could you help me with this?

by soinia.burgueno
over 1 year ago

When I watched the movie "Supersize Me", the best part was when the children in reform school ate only organic food . They stopped their negative behavior and had dramatic improvements in their grades. Organic gardens in schools is a great idea. There are unfortunately contaminants in the soil that is sold as organic Some veggies uptake contaminants more readily than others. Cilantro uptakes heavy metals more than most others. Select your crops with this in mind. You should also test the soil and some crops to ensure that they are safe. Your project rock if you take these simple precautions.

by djwri
over 1 year ago

There are so many benefits to gardens in our schools. To name a few...
1. Improves health through exposure to these foods at a young age (makes a bigger impact the younger they are)
2. Teaches that hard work yields results - "fruits of your labor"
3. Good hobby so kids won't get caught up in negative influences
4. Saves money if they or their parents decide to grow a garden at their house.
5. Brings greater enthusiasm for learning about the sciences through this hands on learning approach a garden brings

...There are so many benefits. That's why I voted for EnrichLA. This is the future, and EnrichLA is bringing LA closer to what it should look like in 2050, hence why it should win the LA2050 challenge.
Great Job Guys!!!

by ryan.naghi
over 1 year ago

Do you also work with LA County schools, SMMUSD, Culver City schools, WeHo schools, etc?

by shawnlandres
over 1 year ago

Hi, this is Cory from LA Biohackers (the team in #2 behind you). I noticed the user 'djwri' wrote something nice on our page and wrote something really weird on your page, so I imagine they are one of our supporters. I want to apologize for that. I didn't intend to sling mud at the other LA2050 teams. You guys have a great organization and a great cause which I personally fully support. LA will be a better place by 2050 if your organization can continue to thrive.
-Cory Tobin

by ctobin
over 1 year ago

Enrich LA as been a blessing! The students
love going out into the garden. It has enriched the lives of the entire school

by epdeleston
over 1 year ago

How do you make sure the plants don't uptake contaminants such as lead from the soil? Remember the wells drilled by NGOs in Bangladesh? They poisoned countless people with naturally occurring arsenic.

by djwri
over 1 year ago

Go for it ADINAK

by rabbikarenfox
over 1 year ago

It seems like these garden projects might benefit from some remote wireless network monitoring, including cameras and environment sensors. Data Roads Foundation is definitely interested in collaborating on that.

by jaredhardy
over 1 year ago

I love ENRICH LA, the inner city kids are exposed to nature, how to grow vegtables, taste what they planted, and watch it grow. I have seen kids light up when they come to the garden & plant trees, they take ownership & pride walking by knowing that they had a part in a small seed that went into the ground & watched it grow & then ate the harvest of what was produced..It's Amazing to see transformation in these kids!!

over 1 year ago

Enrich LA is an amazing program that instills a love for nature in young students - something that they can carry on into adulthood. It's always great to see people rally behind a new endeavor for the betterment of their community. These school gardens have made a tremendous impact, my younger siblings were fortunate to attend King Middle School and they are more conscious of their impact on the environment - they know the beauty of seeing something grow and appreciate the nature surrounding them. Many thanks to the wonderful volunteers that create and help establish/maintain these gardening sites!

by DeeDeeHM
over 1 year ago

This is such a rewarding endeavor whether you're a volunteer helping to build it, an educator who sees this at work and transforming the environment for your students, a child watching your first seeds grow, a parent witnessing your child learning to love and connect with nature, or just a citizen seeing beauty and green space expanding in your community.

by jessica.mccarthy.5686
over 1 year ago

EnrichLA gardens are transformation for youth and their families. Angelenos deserve access to these beautiful spaces for learning, laughing, exploring and eating!

by lizmcallister
over 1 year ago

As a child in 2nd grade, my class and I grew a small plant in a plastic ziplock bag and then planted them in small cups as they grew bigger and bigger. Back then I saw it as the most amazing thing! Watching my little bean grown into a majestic green plant. With EnrichLA, schools can have WHOLE gardens! Not only can students watch different plants grow but they can also eat them too! How much cooler can it get! Every child deserves a little magic in their lives! Thanks EnrichLA!

by mpena
over 1 year ago

Such a great program. I just recently (in the past year) became interested in gardening. I wish I would have had this exposure when I was in elementary school. Thank you, EnrichLA, for giving these students the opportunity to learn these skills!

by steph1577
over 1 year ago

These school gardens change the lives of children, parents, teachers, and the community large. I have seen under-served communities being repaired and rejuvenated from the inside out by a single school garden. Kids become passionate and invested in caring for their garden- which is a beautiful sight to see.

by mamiegreen
over 1 year ago

These school gardens change the lives of children, parents, teachers, and the community large. I have seen under-served communities being repaired and rejuvenated from the inside out by a single school garden. Kids become passionate and invested in caring for their garden- which is a beautiful sight to see.

by mamiegreen
over 1 year ago

A small garden in a single school can do so much for young ones! Kids use the garden as a space to relax, discover, wind down, wind up, learn about food, eat snacks and hang out with bugs!

by jasminelim
over 1 year ago

EnrichLA is an amazing group, empowering Angelenos of all ages to change the soil of their communities starting with their own outdoor edible education classrooms in LA schools. Their ability to reach all corners of an expansive city and it's suburbs and provide a consistent quality product is commendable!

by DianaHeffernan
over 1 year ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0
75 School Gardens in Los Angeles Schools!
75 School Gardens in Los Angeles Schools!

Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014