We have been working with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), Chlorox Foundation, and Numi Foundation to provide gardening support and mentorship to afterschool programs throughout Oakland for the past 4 years.
We help install gardens, provide materials such as soil, seed and plant starts, and basic garden tools. We also hold teaching workshops for afterschool instructors, and share teaching kits and curriculum with them. We do maintenance on these gardens and provide all the support we can for their success!
This year, in response to the pandemic, we are supporting teachers around the district to become Outdoor Educators, as a way to keep everyone safe, and work with the beautiful green spaces we have, with a focus on how to teach science outdoors.
We have been working in close partnership with the Trust for Public Land in Schoolyard Greening projects at OUSD schools. Schoolyard greening projects involve a design process with the community, and installation/expansion of green spaces on campuses. This often involves removing asphalt, restoring soil, and building some kind of outdoor learning spaces for students to comfortably gather, play, and learn outside. We work alongside garden teachers, students, and families to plant out their gardens during the garden class and at community workdays. We have completed major garden expansion projects at Markham Elementary and Melrose, with more several more projects currently in process.
Food Access at Schools
During the last school year, we were also running produce stands at three OUSD schools – Manzanita SEED, Global Family and Markham Elementary. The purpose of these stands was to bring fresh food to our families and give our students hands-on lessons in financial literacy and entrepreneurship. With help from our school communities, Mandela Partners produce distributors, and our donors including the Numi Foundation and Clorox, these produce stands were a great success! We sold approximately 1,000 pounds of fresh produce every week! This assured us that many of our families were getting fresh, nutritious food on a regular basis.
FARMS TO COMMUNITIES
In response to the pandemic in March 2020, we rapidly shifted our food stands to a delivery model, to ensure families were still getting access to good food, while supporting local farmers as well. We partnered with Numi Foundation, the Salesforce Foundation, Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, the TomKat Foundation, and OUSD to make it happen, and currently deliver to 3,200 families a week! To read more about the story of how this program grew out of the COVID-19 crisis, and to learn how to get involved please visit our Farms to Communities website. You can sign up for a weekly fresh produce delivery, with a buy-one, give-one model, or request a low-cost delivery for you and your family.
Fruit Tree Planting at Schools
Since our founding, we have worked with OUSD and FoodCorps to plant fruiting and native trees at OUSD campuses. Some of the notable campus installations we have worked on include Castlemont, Westlake, Stonehurst, Hoover, Manzanita/SEED, ASCEND, and many more - over 40 schools! These were primarily California ReLeaf funded projects, funded through GHG reduction funds.