Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lemons, Peas and Beets, Oh My!

by Denise Colestock, LEED A.P., ASID Eco Committee Member

When life gives you a lemon tree, sell the lemons! That is exactly what San Diego's Washington Elementary is doing with their brand new edible garden. Rebuild Global worked diligently over the past year to design and build an edible garden that the students could use for their enjoyment as well as the enjoyment of their customers in the Little Italy farmer's market.

It has been over a year since the winning proposal from the Rebuild Global design competition began its implementation of school gardens in two San Diego schools. Both schools, Washington and Sherman Elementary, have seen the beginning of an edible journey through vegetables, fruits and native vegetation. The students have enjoyed their participation in the process of selecting the plants and designing the gardens and Rebuild Global has enjoyed bringing a little bit of nature to their lives.

Both schools are on their way to a complete garden. The plans include a sustainable outdoor kitchen for Washington Elementary and a shipping container structure for Sherman Elementary which will be their kitchen and storage unit. This second phase for both schools is in the fundraising and donation (garden tools and green houses) stage. If you or someone you know can help in any way, please contact Denise Colestock at dcolestock@rebuildglobal.org. For more information about the garden project or Rebuild Global, please visit http://www.rebuildglobal.org/.

The following is a reprint of Denise's initial post about the Rebuild Global school projects, originally posted here in September, 2010:

Get Outside!  Bees, Seeds and Kids, Oh My! 
by Denise Colestock, LEED A.P., ASID Eco Committee Member

Ever wonder how we can get our children to reconnect with nature? Eat healthy? Learn about sustainability? Rebuild Global has taken on that challenge by implementing a plan to build sustainable school gardens and structures throughout San Diego.

Rebuild Global is a non-profit organization which strives to create an environmentally and socially responsible world community. We collaborate as designers, organizations, city entities and creative individuals to work on projects and community building where it is unavailable and needed most.

Through our yearly design competition, ProjectFIND, Rebuild Global found a winning entry that would do just that. Taylor Scherner, a local designer, submitted the School Garden Network project which won the hearts of our judges, members and schools. Her project proposed the implementation of a sustainable garden and kitchen structure in all schools across San Diego County to teach children about local, healthy eating and sustainable design. We are well on our way to implementing our first two at Sherman Heights Elementary and Washington Elementary in downtown San Diego.

Sherman Heights Elementary, located in the Barrio Logan neighborhood, will be receiving a shipping container donated by Dole and designed pro bono by Kevin deFreitas, Architect. The shipping container will act as the kitchen where local cooks can teach the children how to cook and eat the fruits of their labor.

Washington Elementary, located in the Little Italy neighborhood, will be receiving a sustainable outdoor kitchen and host a booth in the Little Italy weekend farmers market where the children can sell some of their produce. The money made at the market will go back into the garden to keep it growing for years to come.

When childhood obesity is on the rise and children are becoming increasingly disconnected with nature, there is no better time than now to get them to discover their outside world. By engaging the children in the growth of plants and food, they will be able to understand where their food comes from and how it nurtures their bodies. They will gain an appreciation for it and an understanding of the importance of sustainable growth.

We will be breaking ground on both schools by the end of October and implementing the gardens in various stages. If you are interested in getting involved or donating garden materials and tools, please contact Sandra Plaza at splaza@rebuildglobal.org.

To learn more about Rebuild Global and ProjectFIND, please visit http://www.rebuildglobal.org/.