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The Earth Element

The Earth Element

EnrichLA is building a brighter future, one edible garden at a time

September 13, 2016

Tomas O’Grady, Enrich LA’s co-founder, was inspired to create the non-profit three years ago, where the dream began with one edible garden. Today EnrichLA has built 103 gardens in schools all over L.A., and is considered to be the largest garden non-profit in the nation. Recognizing that a school garden is only as good as what’s growing in it, and only useful to a school if the students are actually using it, EnrichLA has created ‘The Garden Ranger Program.’  Every school has a trained garden ranger consistently on site to attend to the garden as well as provide place-based learning opportunities for the students, offering fun lesson plans with topics such as nutrition, healthy living, gardening, and environmental stewardship.

 

I feel privileged to call myself a ‘Garden Ranger.’ 🙂

class-is-in-session

Nature is our most powerful teacher.

 

This is my favorite kind of classroom! A learning environment that connects kids to their food source, fuels their curiosity, soothes their anxieties, teaches them about responsibility and respect for all living things, all while helping them stay active and healthy.

With childhood obesity rates still rising, it is paramount that we connect our children to the source of where “real” food comes from. If students only have access to vending machines full of processed, sugar-ladened ‘dead food,’ they are in a system that’s ultimately failing them. This complete disconnect from nature can lead to “nature deficit disorder” causing some kids to become overweight, anxious and depressed. If we can give children across America access to simple whole foods, we can begin to make a real change.

Kids will eat what they grow!

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When a child gets to experience the joy of growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating simple whole foods, they start to gain a new appreciation for real food and are empowered to make better food choices.  These gardens act as catalysts to show students just how versatile, delicious, and FUN healthy food can be!

The simple of act of spending time in the garden teaches children about responsibility, teamwork, cooperation, and respect. An edible garden will broaden a child’s awareness of the world and inspire them to value our habitat. STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education is taught in the garden through hands-on learning, which in effect is building a stronger understanding of those concepts for many children who respond better with reality-based teaching.

all you need is love

Much like we handle this seedling; we support, empower, enrich, and spread love to all students, and eagerly watch them grow. We see their potential, and do everything we can so they can bloom bigger and brighter!

The Earth Element

Mother Dirt: The Ultimate Healer

June 15, 2016


When life feels overwhelming I seek refuge and comfort in the dirt. Connecting with the earth is incredibly nurturing and soothing, it’s the best form of stress therapy there is. That precious time spent in the garden shifts you into a meditative state, stilling your busy mind and keeping you present. In this quiet mental state, the healing begins, both on a mental and physical level. The soil is full of healthy bacteria which has been shown to trigger the release of serotonin, the brain chemical that keeps us happy. You can boost your mood naturally just by digging in the dirt! Say no to pills and yes to mud pies. 

 Your kids also benefit tremendously from playing in the dirt. They need less time trapped inside the “spic and span” home, chemically ladened with household cleaners (windex, clorox, bleach, carpet cleaner, air fresheners), and more time outside rolling around in the dirt! Here is the dirty little secret; early exposure to healthy soil will actually boost your child’s immune system. We are dirt deficient. Our germaphobic, hyper hygienic society has actually placed us and our kids in a weaker state. Apart from the tremendous physical benefits of spending time outside and getting grimy, dirt also has a positive impact on kids emotional well being and cognitive skills. Playing in the dirt increases happiness, and enhances learning. Mother Dirt knows best.

Patience, love, compassion, respect, forgiveness, life, and death.

All lessons learned by time spent in the garden. Dirt is more alive than we are. Dirt has all the kingdoms of life in it. Dirt is the living breathing skin of the planet we call home. When you dig your hands in the soil you connect with life on the most fundamental level.

 

Mother Dirt The Ultimate Healer