January 2010


Happy New Year! GSF will be hosting the first monthly workday of 2010 on Saturday, 1/30 (9am -12pm) at the 24th Street School. Please mark your calendars. Bring your garden gear (garden gloves, some water, sunscreen, a shovel or pitchfork). We will continue our winter planting (including another 20 new fruit trees donated from Tree People!) in both the kitchen and California native gardens, build some infrastructure (benches, compost sifters, etc.), make new beds, and many other tasks.

The address is: 2055 West 24th Street, Los Angeles

From the I-10 Freeway: take the “Western Avenue” exit (3 miles west of downtown) and head south on Western. Take a right turn on 24th Street. The school and parking lot will be on the right-hand side on the east side of school. There will be plenty of street parking as well. Look for the banner reading “24th Street School Workday” and enter through those gates.

We look forward to seeing you then!

In our school, in the vegetable-y bounty of garden-y wonderfulness, our students eat food in bags. Heated pizza in a bag. Chicken fingers in a bag. Apples in a bag. Everything in a bag. EVERYTHING. If they could package liquid in a bag, they would. OH WAIT. THEY DID. Chocolate milk in a bag.

While the parents, students, teachers, and faculty are welcome to grow and harvest whatever they want in the garden, we’re not at a point where we can feed every student lunch from the garden. Until then, they’ll eat what the school cafeteria serves them. So, Ali and I were curious to what exactly goes into the stomach of our young gardeners everyday.

So, at lunch, we  followed the herd down a yellow line leading us straight into the cafeteria. The first thing that hit me was the smell of ketchup. Automatically, I realized that all my nostalgic odorous memories of cafeteria food revolved around ketchup.  Good ole’ high fructose corn syrupyness.  Strange, how nothing changes.

When we got to the cafeteria line, the other thing that I immediately realized was that while the grumpy, hair net-wearing cafeteria workers were still behind the counter manning the fort, they weren’t there to serve lunch! Rather, they were assembling individually plastic wrapped and heated food and putting them in trays. What happened to the days where the cafeteria lady would scoop brown gravy into a small well in the middle of a mound of re-hydrated mash potato flakes? Where was the canned green beans still swimming in its own water?

Apparently, I had it really good in my childhood.

As we stood in front of a mountainous stack of pre-assembled trays of plastic covered reheated food, it was the moment of truth. Do I take this $2.50 and buy a tray or run as fast as I can to the taco shop next door? (One marginally healthier than the other… I’ll let you decide which one is which)

Obviously, I went with this Michelin-starred tray o’ bagged stuff.

Ambiguous mystery meat patty, mushy tater tots, whole wheat buns (the healthy version?), orange juice in a bag, and chocolate milk in a bag.

As the grease waifted up and into my nostrils, I took the initial bite and was struck by spongy ambiguity of the meat. Is it beef? Is it pork? IS IT BORF?

The world would never know, but apparently ambiguous meat is perfectly fine to feed the children of LAUSD. This is all, of course, followed by mushy tater tots and bags of chocolate milk.

I’ll let you decide on the lesson learned.

1. Food tastes as good as it looks. See pictures.

2. Our school district is feeding what they believe what the future of our country deserve to eat. See pictures.

3. The tacos next door are very tasty.

After a little break, GSF is back in the full swing of gardening with the kids! The garden welcomed our young farmers back from the winter break with tons of peas, snow peas, radishes, daikons, lettuce, wheat grass, and so much more! Would you believe the kids pulled the BIGGEST daikon ever from the ground and cooked it? It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Before we left, we had a sustainable gift/bake sale for the December workday event. Torrential downpour canceled the workday, but the gift/bake sale went on! Nat, Nancy, and Virginie manned 3 beautiful table filled with gorgeous baked goodies, locally made jams, rosemary/lavender salts, and other great holiday gifts. I brought my mother and she ended up purchasing a lot of gifts for our relatives. (FYI: lavender salt is great!)

Despite the typhoon going on around us, we still had a great success! We hope to do this again in the future.