Boyle Heights residents gathered at Roosevelt High School last month for a garden workshop aimed at teaching the community about how to grow their own fruits and vegetables.
Health and environmental non-profit organizations Enrich L.A. and HealthCorps hosted the first-ever parent garden workshop, which included a garden tour, question and answers about composting, as well as lessons in basic plant growing.
Since the fall, Roosevelt students have worked with these organizations twice a week maintaining the garden.
The scent of mint, parsley, oregano and other herbs float through the air, while large sunflowers, rose bushes and a young peach tree sit along the stretch of garden located next to Roosevelt’s softball field.
Onions, beets, tomatoes and chili peppers will soon be ripening next to lemons, papayas, cauliflower, broccoli, beans and garlic.
With their own miniature gardens, participants harvested kale, carrots, cilantro and green peas to make a communal salad.
Boyle Heights resident Tomaza Caperon attended the workshop with her two daughters and grandson, where they planted their own garden and harvested vegetables.
Caperon’s grandson, 11-year-old Baruc Salcedo, felt committed to eating more vegetables after helping out in the communal salad.
“My son said he’s going to eat vegetables. You heard him!,” said Salcedo’s mother, calling the workshop an inspirational experience.
Julia Carr, Enrich L.A.’s garden ranger, teaches students about which seasons work best for certain seeds and what can be used for healthy soil.
At the workshop, Carr taught the group proper garden maintenance and stressed the fact that every seed has the potential to grow into something with just a little water, soil and sunlight.
“I love being connected to the earth,” Carr said. “Knowing where your food comes from and knowing what you’re growing is really special. The more you grow food, the more you become connected with the earth.”
“I was very inspired. I have a garden box and seeing everything that can grow inspired me to focus on a dirt area at home and convert it into a garden,” said Celeste Magalianes, who’s son attends Roosevelt High. “This [garden workshop] is not very common and this information is very beneficial to everyone.”
Because the first garden workshop was such a success, Enrich L.A. and HealthCorps are working to make it a regular monthly event.