GOOD EATS

Marlborough School students with  children at Alexandria House's preschool.
Over these last couple of years, Marlborough School in Los Angeles, California has made a commitment to going green. In fact, we have challenged ourselves to reduce our community carbon footprint by 30 percent over the next five years. Although this is an ambitious goal, the student body has united with faculty and alumnae to take action against the devastating effects of climate change.

I have accepted this challenge by founding the Marlborough School Seedling Project GOOD EATS. The project began when I got inspired by nationally acclaimed writer/chef Alice Waters and her Edible Schoolyard. The main focus is to establish a sustainable, edible garden on our campus, providing nutritious food for the students and faculty.

The GOOD EATS "Action Team" comprised of students, alumnae and faculty have a collective goal to promote environmental stewardship through educating our school community about ecology and making responsible food choices. In a sense, the Marlborough School Seedling Project plants physical seeds as well as seeds of knowledge.

In the 2009-2010 school year, the GOOD EATS "Action Team" met twice a week in conjunction with the Marlborough School environmental committee.

The garden is to be constructed by our facilities staff and planted by students and alumnae in August 2010. A variety of herbs and seasonal vegetables will provide our first crop to coordinate with the menus created by Café M, our school’s cafeteria. Also, in support of our new LEED-certified, energy-efficient campus, we are hoping to use Hardy Board building materials for above-the-ground boxes.

However, the project does not end once the seeds have been planted. Curricular ties to the GOOD EATS garden are currently being developed by the GOOD EATS “Action Team” to enhance our community’s understanding of health, nutrition, local food and sustainability. Using interactive classroom nutrition and gardening lessons, the ultimate goal of this Seedling Project is to connect these topics to the core subjects such as math, science, english, and social studies. Once our Marlborough School community is empowered with that knowledge and the tools to make responsible food choices, we want to share our findings with other schools and communities.

For instance, last year, some of the GOOD EATS “Action Team” and other Marlborough School students teamed up with the Children’s Nature Institute (CNI) to plant an organic, edible garden at Alexandria House, a non-profit, transitional residence in Los Angeles that provides safe and supportive housing for abused women and children. Every Wednesday, Marlborough School participants went down to Alexandria House’s preschool, where the girls taught the children about making responsible food choices.

I am eager to watch our garden grow. To see upcoming events and learn more about the GOOD EATS project, I invite you to visit: www.theseedlingproject.net

To share your own Farm-to-School projects, I encourage you to join the Seedling Project at the Smarter Cities wiki.

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