Mark Twain Middle School's Seed to Plate Program in Venice, Los Angeles is a model for school nutrition programs in the L.A. Unified School District and across the nation. The garden serves as not only a source of healthy food for the students, but also as a classroom. The children learn entrepreneurship by selling their produce at a local farmer's market; math by counting loaves of bread baked from the wheat harvest; and history by studying Aztec and Mayan agricultural techniques.
Mark Twain is a Title 1 school where 83 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced school meals. You can listen to the students here.
Kiran and I signed on to be "PACTivists" in order to help raise funds for this amazing program. It was selected to be one of 100 urban gardens participating in a national urban garden building campaign -- a partnership between Whole Kids Foundation, the non-profit arm of Whole Foods; PACT, an incredible organic, sustainable, fair trade clothing company; and Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website. Check out the video we made after a visit to the school!
As of today, in collaboration with the amazing volunteers who run the Seed to Plate Program, Kiran and I have raised $1,825 towards our $2,500 goal for the Mark Twain Middle School garden. We hope to exceed this goal, $10 at a time... or, of course, more!
These funds will help master gardeners Patty Kestin, Marianne Brown, Idalia Ramirez, Renee Meshul, and the other Seed to Plate volunteers and Mark Twain Middle School educators:
- Increase school-wide healthy food tastings in the cafeteria
- Expand nutrition education for the 750 students
- Build more raised beds and tables for the outdoor classroom
- Buy kitchen and garden tools and materials to cook, grow and harvest more fruit and vegetables
- Replace the broken refrigerator
- Expand the garden-based curricula now taught in conjunction with history, english, math science, and art