Design a School Garden with LAUSD (and We'll Build It!)

Update: Submission DEADLINE EXTENDED to June 20, 2010 at 11:59pm PST.

How can better design help teachers, parents, volunteers and students have a vibrant, useful, and meaningful outdoor classroom? Let's make the school garden more accessible and affordable for schools.

Sponsored by GOOD, LAUSD, The USDA People’s Garden Initiative, The Environmental Media Association, The National Gardening Association, The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, The California School Garden Network, and Mia Lehrer & Associates.

A school garden teaches lessons that only nature can provide. A garden not only helps children understand where their food comes from, it teaches ecological literacy and teamwork, nutrition and problem-solving. Plus, any teacher at any school can use the garden to teach history, math, English, geography, engineering, business, and—of course—science, all within the standards of district-mandated curriculum. Gardens are an amazing resource for learning. Alice Waters gets it. Jamie Oliver gets it. Michelle Obama gets it, too.

?But not all schools have them. In Los Angeles, 100 amazing public school gardens exist. That seems like a good number until you consider that we have 900 LAUSD schools—and most schools have nothing more than depressing seas of blacktop. In more affluent neighborhoods, where parents have the time and resources to design and build them, there are gardens. But for 90 percent of LA's students, there is asphalt, chain-link fence, and lots and lots of room for improvement.

To bring gardens to all schools in all neighborhoods, we need to provide school site teams with innovative, replicable garden designs. If costs, layouts, and materials are clearly shown through good design, it will be easier to fund gardens with support from government, corporate private and foundation partners. The easier we can make the plans for schools and volunteers, the more school gardens will bloom.

What constitutes an outdoor classroom? What does it take to make a school garden grow? It’s a question you, as a designer, can help answer.

We're looking for designers, architects, teachers, chefs, parents, nonprofits, volunteers, and students to create a affordable, scalable, modular school garden design that any school can use.

Design a garden module that can be applied to a 20' by 20' space on any K through 12 campus.

School gardens need: beds, paths, plants, sun, tool storage, water access, irrigation, room for at least 25 students, wheelchair access.

School gardens can have: greenhouses, fountains, benches, class seating, shade structures, trellis, potting tables, habitat feeders, fruit trees, shade trees, BBQs, kitchens, farmstands, whimsy.

School gardens can focus on or combine any of five thematic areas: edible/kitchen, sustainable/habitat, science/learning, literacy/reading, and rooftop/vertical.

For a model we're using Bancroft Middle School in Hollywood, just a few blocks from our offices at GOOD. You can see the location in Google Maps. Bancroft's acres of blacktop, easily seen from the air, are extremely representative of LAUSD schools. If you want to use Bancroft's site as your model, we'd love to see that 20' by 20' module somewhere on their property.

Highly-imaginative proposals are definitely encouraged, but entries will be judged on feasibility, cost, productivity, adaptive reuse, and their ability to effectively educate students.

You do not need to live or work in Los Angeles in order to be eligible to enter.

A jury of educators, city leaders, chefs, architects, urban planners, and gardeners will judge the entries. So far that includes:

Mud Baron, LAUSD
Kyla Fullenwider, GOOD Projects
Casey Caplowe, GOOD
Mia Lehrer, Mia Lehrer + Associates
Astrid Diehl, Mia Lehrer + Associates
Teresa Dahl, parent and school garden coordinator, Carthay Circle Elementary
Emily Green, Dry Garden columnist for LA Times
Meg Glasser, Urban Farming
Jenny Shafritz, Environmental Media Association
Paula Daniels, LA City Board of Public Works

Five designs will be chosen by the jury by July 1. The designers will attend a one-day workshop with landscape architect Mia Lehrer to refine their proposals. Working closely with LAUSD, proposals will be matched to local schools due to site appropriateness, maintenance resources, and available funding. Designers will be encouraged to participate in the building of the gardens. One garden will be installed in a Los Angeles school by October.

Simultaneously, the designs, processes and a best practices manual will be shared widely through GOOD's community, website and magazine, and distributed under a Creative Commons license.

The designers will be invited to attend a one-day workshop with landscape architect Mia Lehrer to refine their proposals. If designers cannot attend, their proposals will be workshopped by the team in their absence.

Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Foundation

Real School Gardens

School Garden Wizard


California School Garden Network

The Learning Garden

Mud Baron, LAUSD Green Policy Chair

Getting Started: A Guide to Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms

By June 20, 2010 at 11:59pm PST, send us an email at projects[at]goodinc[dot]com with the following:

—A maximum of two images: sketches, drawings, three dimensional renderings, scaled technical drawings, photographs, altered photographs. Your images should be high resolution (they should print at 300 dpi at 8.5 x 11). Please stuff or zip your files, or include a link where they can be downloaded.

—A brief narrative in the body of the email, up to 500 words, that includes materials and details and explains how the design will enable a school to create an effective outdoor classroom.

—Your name, city, and local school.

—Your estimated budget for your garden (including materials and plants).

—Please name all your files with your firm or group name.

Photos courtesy Teresa Dahl at Carthay Center Elementary

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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