CRENSHAW STUDENTS IN THE GARDEN: (From L-T-R): Tyne White, 10th grade, Shyla Redding, 11th grade, Cyra Jones, 11th grade & Quran Thomas, 11th grade hold the fruits of hard work and dedication.
The Crenshaw Garden grand opening means fresh produce for the Crenshaw community.
Fresh, sustainable and easy-access is coming to the Crenshaw District and surrounding communities in the form of a local garden at Crenshaw High School. Celebrating National Garden Month, the Crenshaw Garden opened on Saturday, April 5 from 8:30am-12:30pm to the community offering an array of fresh vegetables and fruits. Daphne Bradford CEO of Mothers of Many (MOM) is behind the garden at Crenshaw and shared a little of its history.
“In 2010, we went to the White House and we established a ‘Let’s Move’ partnership,” said Bradford. “We only had limited space in the garden because they did have a landscaping teacher that started the same year—budget cuts happened.
“Principal Corley was pleased with the work [MOM] was doing with the students…so he asked me to come over and manage the entire space.”
The garden would get assistance from organizations like UCLA, Starbucks, Home Depot, L.A. Green Grounds and the community. “[MOM] is now sponsoring a botanical engineering curriculum and program to teach kids about botany, which is the study of plants and the engineering piece is to get them to come up with an idea on a really economical, water-saving irrigation system.
“So we’re going to work with the physics and the biology and the chemistry teachers and students for them to come back and really think about that.”
Bradford’s monumental visit to the White House, working through her non-profit, MOM, with First Lady, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, “Change What You Eat, Change How You Feel!” was the beginning and the garden is the culmination. Bradford’s involvement with local schools such as Dorsey High and other high school culinary programs, have inspired youth to pursue high profile futures in the culinary world. The Crenshaw garden will also act as a resource for fresh produce for local high school culinary classes.
“We have some beautiful Bok Choy, so we were able to sell a lot of that,” said Bradford. “And we took some of that to Dorsey and a Chef came and took some to his class at John Muir [High School].”
Bradford is also getting assistance from Crenshaw High Alum, Trestan Fairweather, who is currently attending Cal Poly Pomona, where he is studying Botany.
“He’s the assistant manager and he’s in a Master Gardening program,” said Bradford. “He’ll be finished at the end of May and during the Summer, we’re going to open up for the community and have gardening classes.”
Some of the tasty vegetables and fruits the Crenshaw garden has to offer is bok choy, cabbage, multiple varieties of radishes, kale, strawberries, sugar snap peas and cucumbers. They also have a section of the garden dedicated to Trayvon Martin, which will feature a lot of herbs and spices.
“I thought it would be a nice remembrance of him because for our kids here, that was the equivalent to the 1992 civil unrest,” said Bradford. “So back then, that’s when the food from the hood and the garden really kicked off.
“So I’m trying to make the connection to history and how to properly honor the memory of a young man.”
"The girls basketball team planted strawberries,” said Tanness Walker, Crenshaw Girls Basketball team member. “I really never planted anything before and I enjoyed getting my hands dirty and having fun really planting something myself.
“I'm so excited to see our strawberries grow. I can't wait to eat them."
The Crenshaw Gardens opens once a month, every third Saturday to the community.
Crenshaw Garden Team: Mother Of Many is the sponsoring organization for the Crenshaw Botanical Garden and Engineering program: Right to Left: Mia Henry (Crenshaw alumni - M.O.M. College Fellow ), Esaul Parra (Crenshaw alumni - M.O.M. College Fellow) , Trestan Fairweather (Crenshaw alumni - M.O.M. College Fellow) , Daphne Bradford (Mother Of Many-Garden Sponsor), Mac Farmer (Mother Of Many Garden Instructor), Domonic Wilks (Crenshaw alumni - M.O.M. College Fellow), Bill "Green Heart" Petitt (Mother Of Many Botanical Engineering Instructor) - Photo by Diana Parra Garcia