Last week I had the pleasure of visiting two of our Budding Botanist grantees. Sponsored by the Klorane Botanical Foundation, Budding Botanist grants will help our youngest citizens learn about plants, explore their world and inspire them to take care of the life they discover in their local ecosystems.
My first stop was Rosemead High School in Los Angeles, CA. (Student gardeners, faculty advisors, and FoodCorps educator are pictured above.) With the Budding Botanist grant, they plan to improve their existing “Best of Thymes” garden and experiment with a “Wisdom of Weeds” garden. If you haven’t seen teacher Joseph Vasquez’ speak about the transformational power of weeds, watch it now! Senior Kaitlyn Ly gave us a tour of the garden, from the marquis garden filled with native plants, the citrus trees throughout campus, and the corn growing in planters in the culinary garden. The school has done a remarkable job of incorporating edible and educational plants throughout the campus, and they even have plans for a monarch corridor!
Next, I visited Garfield Elementary School in Oakland, CA. Teacher Abdul-Haqq Khalifah works with a core group of mainly African-American boys to maintain the garden space. With the Budding Botanist grant, he hopes to invest in improvements that will make the program sustainable for years to come, and continue to provide green space access to the students of Garfield Elementary, and educate them about healthy food and nutrition choices.
The KidsGardening staff and representatives from the Klorane Botanical Foundation are visiting all of the Budding Botanist awardees, so stay tuned on social media for lots more photos and videos!