Our program cultivates a passion for learning, healthy food, and the environment through garden-based education with middle school students. This form of experiential education gives students a deeper understanding of their academic subjects while sowing seeds that grow into global stewardship and healthy life choices.
The program operates a thriving one-third acre garden at Mark Twain Middle School, a Los Angeles Unified School District Title I public school located in the Venice/Mar Vista area of Los Angeles. It began in 2008 with a team of 4 volunteers, 4 teachers and reaching a handful of classes. Today, the program has grown to weekly lessons teaching 600+ students (90% of the student body) throughout the year.
-Strong community partnerships strengthen and sustain Seeds to Plate. These relationships provide students with the opportunities to explore extracurricular and career choices related to public health, culinary arts, and the environment.
-This fall, we launch a two-year collaboration with UCLA faculty, students and Mark Twain Middle School students through the UC Global Food Initiative. This collaborative, the Growing Food Literacy Project (GFL), will increase students understanding of the factors that shape their food choices, and, in turn, how those choices impact their health, the economy, the environment.
-Seeds to Plate mentors UCLA service learning students who work as teacher aides in our classes, as part of our ongoing partnership with UCLA.
-Working with the UCLA School of Medicine, their Pediatric Residents visit our students annually for a day filled with connections and conversation on food, health, and career paths.
-Our Mark Twain students teamed up with Gjelina Restaurant and the Venice Boys & Girls Club, to create their own restaurant, menu, and food.
-Through our newest initiative, the Youth Entrepreneurship Project funded by the Abbot Kinney Festival grant, students will combine learning to grow produce with actually selling the produce to the Mark Twain community.