LMC to plant a future

New garden site revealed

FullSizeRender_1Alexandra Riva
Los Medanos College’s smallest neighbors in the Child Development Center received their final clue Tuesday, leading to the unveiling of a new garden for the children. Since Oct. 2, the children in Lindsay Bertolucci’s class have been making guesses as to what the surprise would be.
“I think the science based investigations made it more interesting instead of just telling them,” said Bertolucci about the predictions her students made as to what would be going in an empty space next to their playground.
The space previously contained trees and bushes, but they have since been cleared out and an irrigation system was put in to help with the potential gardening site. LMC students used to walk through this space on a narrow gravel path, but they will no longer be able to do so after the garden is built and a fence is put in place.
“It’s going to be fenced off and closed. That’s to keep it safe for the children without people coming up to them,” said Janice Townsend, the Child Study Center Curriculum Coordinator.
In class, the children were given their final clue, which included uncovering a variety of fruits and then taking a field trip to a mobile farmers’ market on the LMC campus. Fresh Approach, where the children each purchased a fruit or vegetable, has been in operation since 2009 and has been coming to LMC for several weeks.
“Going to the food truck, they figured out it was a garden. Now, they’re trying different fruits and vegetables to see what we should grow in our garden,” said Townsend on the students’ involvement in the garden planning.
Of the 13 students in the class 10 children voted for grapes, two chose pomegranates and the last chose persimmon as possible growing options. The students are part of a farm-to-table project that helps them learn about healthy eating habits.
“We were awarded about 30 thousand dollars from the district because we submitted an innovation grant called ‘farm-to-table’. You had to partner with one of the other colleges, Diablo Valley College or Contra Costa College, and we partnered with DVC’s culinary department. Once we have a garden and we have lots of produce they are going to come and teach us how to cook it,” said Townsend.
The garden is used for educational purposes as well as a lifestyle tool. Teaching cooking classes for the children and their families is a way to promote healthy eating.
“The children experience a lot more food and they are more likely to eat something if they grow it,” said Townsend.
The children brought the food they chose at the food truck into the classroom where it was stored for the next day’s snack. Another step in the preparation for the garden will be to build planter boxes.
“All the planting will happen next semester in the spring,” said Townsend.