For our first year as an official group at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, California, our USGBC Students group have decided to kick off the semester with a Green Apple Day of Service project. We've decided to host a project that is close to home and utilizes some of our campus’ unique features. With these intentions in mind, the USGBC Students in partnership with the LMU Office of Sustainability, will host a Garden Learning Day for the children of the LMU Children’s Center on campus. This event will be held in the LMU Inspiration Organic & Native Sustainability (LIONS) Garden located on our campus. This special place was established as the result of a grassroots student effort in 2011 and continues to evolve as a flourishing, multifaceted community space that demonstrates LMU’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Our project’s goal is to engage the garden as a an outdoor learning laboratory to teach the children about where our food comes from, and the benefits of growing organic produce as opposed to buying food at a supermarket.
Los Angeles is well known for being an increasingly urban environment. For this reason the concept of where our fruits and vegetables come from can be difficult for children in this area to grasp. Many children do not understand that the produce found in a typical grocery store must first be grown, harnessing the Earth’s invaluable resources. Building upon the Children Center curriculum of where our food comes from and using the LIONS Garden as a living example of food production, we will be able to tangibly show them how our food is grown and that we can eat it right out of the garden. Additionally, we plan to create interactive activities with the children to show them that by growing vegetables ourselves in a local environment, we avoid the use of pesticides as well as the costs and resources associated with transporting produce to grocery stores for purchase.
After learning about some of the project examples for the Green Apple Day of Service on the website, I immediately wanted to incorporate the LIONS Garden at LMU. As a staff member of the Office of Sustainability and student at LMU I have spent a lot of time working with others to maintain the garden, and as a result, I enjoy and learn from the garden as well. Why not share the knowledge we have gained as students working in the LIONS garden with the children of the LMU community? After all, these children have the potential to be future LMU students, gardeners and stewards of the Earth.