Julia Cotts

published 24th Street Garden Classroom in About Us 2012-04-24 10:41:52 -0700

24th Street Garden Classroom


Our prototype garden classroom is located at the 24th Street Elementary School in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles. Spanning over 1-acre, the 24th Street garden includes an orchard with over 55 fruit trees, habitat gardens, Native California gardens, sixteen vegetable production beds, shaded teaching areas and a garden shed.

published Seed to Table Program in About Us 2012-04-24 10:37:35 -0700

Seed to Table Program


Seed to Table is a year-round program of garden-based education for K-5th grades and is designed to get kids learning about the world through firsthand experiences. Working in the garden, students are challenged to interact with each other in new ways and cooperate to work toward a common goal in an environment that encourages exploration, play, and creativity. As children learn about caring for food plants and the soil, classes demonstrate to youth that what they do matters—a lot—to the world around them and to their own lives.

At the core of the program are 120 standards-aligned lessons (both Common Core and CA state) that bring to life concepts taught in the classroom, and encompass everything a child can learn through the process of planting, tending, harvesting, investigating, cooking and eating plants. Using these outdoor living laboratories, students investigate concepts ranging from photosynthesis to global warming to the diabetes epidemic.

Students in the program visit the garden for hour-long lessons every other week throughout the entire school year, and each grade focuses on a unique Science theme, while other subjects are also covered such as Literacy and Math. Teachers do the “getting ready” portion of each lesson in the classroom, and then the GSF Garden Coordinator co-teaches the hands-on garden portion alongside them. Follow-up activities bring the garden experience back into the classroom, creating further opportunities for deeper exploration and learning. At the end of the 6 years in the program, students have developed both a broad knowledge of and appreciation for the natural world as well as a depth of knowledge about the environment’s most fundamental processes like Life Cycles, Ecosystems, and Adaptations. Students also harvest and prepare delicious, seasonal recipes right there in the garden using simple but fascinating tools like solar ovens and bicycle blenders. We use the process of cooking not only to develop lifetimes of healthy eating habits but as a creative and immensely fun platform for Scientific inquiry and experimentation.

A typical month in October would include the following classes held in the garden for each K-5th grade:

Kindergarden   Diversity and Living Things

  • Garden Bingo Charades Students play a game of bingo – involving charades – as a way to reinforce the many ways people grow and tend plants.
  • Recipe: Applesauce

1st Grade   Needs of Living Things

  • Seasons in the Garden Students begin a year-long exploration of seasonal changes in the garden.
  • Recipe: Apple and Persimmon Salad

 2nd Grade   Life Cycles of Living Things

  • Life Cycle Scavenger Hunt Student teams find living things in the garden that represent different stages of plant and animal life cycles.
  • Recipe: Snap Pea Hummus

 3rd Grade Adaptations and Living Things

  • Worm Biographies After observing Red Wiggler worms and learning about their adaptations, students find their own Red Wiggler and create a story about it.
  • Recipe: Black Bean Bicycle Blender Soup

4th Grade The Web of Life

  • Food Chain Game Students learn about food chains in the garden by playing the Living Food Chain game and then looking for examples of food chains in teams.
  • Recipe: Solar Oven Beet Chips

 5th Grade Investigations

  • The Bean Hypothesis Students compare the roots of a legume plant (like pea, bean, or clover) with those of a non-legume plant and develop hypotheses based on their observations.
  • Recipe: Raw Corn and Radish Salad

In addition to our core in-school education program, Seed to Table extends beyond the school day to offer after-school art, garden, and Science clubs; recess and lunch activities; Professional Development opportunities for teachers; and Community Workdays. We also partner with other organizations that can offer additional classes and workshops for parents and other community members like Tree People, UC Master Gardeners, Voices for Action, and more. 

published History in About Us 2012-04-24 10:19:05 -0700

History of Garden School Foundation


In summer of 2003, the local community and teaching staff at 24th Street Elementary School learned that the school was due to have its playground repaved using money from Proposition BB. Under this plan, the old asphalt was to be removed and new asphalt laid in the same footprint. The 24th Street School staff, led by 2nd grade teacher Linda Slater and principal Yongpyo Grace Yoon, approached neighbors and local businesses to see if they couldn't come up with more optimistic model for the future than asphalt and chain link on the verge of a freeway.

They found an eager community. They partnered with the 24th Street Block Club, district council members Martin Ludlow then Herb Wesson, the Neighborhood Council, the Los Angeles Police Department, the LAUSD police, the Hancock Park Garden Club, Pasadena Garden Club and Diggers garden club, the West Adams Heritage Assn. and LaBrea Bakery, Inc. In March 2005, 24th Street Block Club sought out Nancy Goslee Power to draw a prototype plan. She consulted the students, teachers, and community while working in concert with LAUSD facilities and the repaving program to produce a plan that met their collective needs.

What started as a repaving program was now a partnership between the community and the teachers to save a failing school. The park-starved community wanted a meeting space, sports facility, potentially a venue for a farmers' market. Teaching staff wanted outdoor classrooms to start innovative programs designed to tackle a hot list of urban challenges:

  • Closing the achievement gap
  • Promoting English language development
  • Improving time-keeping and raising average daily attendance
  • Involving parents and the community
  • Fighting obesity and promoting physical fitness
  • Buffering freeway pollution and fighting asthma
  • Creating council circles for teaching and conflict resolution

The project couldn't accomplish everything at once, but it could lay the groundwork for the future. The time to do it was when the main yard was being bulldozed under the BB repaving program. Working with Principal Yoon, the 24th Street Complex Manager and LAUSD Facilities staff, Power created a plan that created spaces for: teaching gardens, game courts, track and field, reading circles, community picnic spaces, and a teaching kitchen.

Vision into Reality

vision_into_reality.jpgTurning this dream into reality involved tackling a host of practical questions: how to create outdoor classrooms that would succeed where current methods are failing more than half the kids? How to maintain the outdoor classrooms needed for practical learning? How to pay for them? There was no borrowing the answers, so the team began experimenting.

Teachers decided that they needed a test plot. On March 31, 2005, the entire school had a "dig day" converting a grass patch in a courtyard into a trial teaching garden. It was opened with a community day attended by more than 2,000 children, parents, teachers and neighbors and catered by a dozen restaurants brought together by LaBrea Bakery. Windrose Farm donated hundreds of tomato seedlings.

Trial Lessons

Party over, work began. Kindergarten teacher Charity Burton, second grade teacher Linda Slater, third grade teacher Michelle Ereckson and fourth grade teacher Tedd Wakeman led the faculty to use the test garden to take science and math lessons outside to see if their children could learn by doing instead of memorization. Linda Slater began art projects. Michelle Ereckson began nutrition lessons, teaching her third-graders to cook their own healthful snacks.

Community-LAUSD Partnership

community-partnership.jpgThe lessons were successful, but teachers needed help to run the garden, LAUSD Facilities needed help to build it and school custodians needed help to maintain it. So La Brea Bakery opened a stall in Santa Monica Farmers selling bread to fund the program. Teachers then began teaching civics and nutrition by organizing bi-monthly field trips to the market, where the children saw their art on display, how the garden was funded and met farmers who grew the same vegetables that they did. More than 1,100 children had their first trip to a farmers' market in the first year of the program, and for each class trip, five parents were drawn into the new programs at their school.

LaBrea Bakery also hired UC Berkeley-trained gardener Nick Tan of the Eagle Rock firm Urban Organics one day a week to help teachers lead the garden lessons. A local gardener, Sergio Fuentes, joined Tan as a teaching assistant and to oversee garden maintenance. Tan took the cooking lessons to neighborhood homes for lack of in-school cooking facilities.

Silverton came to give a succession of lessons, one day to plant wheat and make whole-wheat bread, where she showed the germ in the loaf; another visit for a celebratory cup-cake making day, when she said, "sugar is a spice, not an ingredient."

The Garden Classroom

garden_classrom.jpgOver the past 2 years, GSF has dramatically expanded its garden-based curriculum and nutrition programming. Beginning in 2008, GSF expanded its vision by launching larger interdisciplinary standards-based curricula in collaboration with LAUSD, allowing our outdoor classrooms and gardens to have the greatest possible impact in schools and the greater community.

The Future

Our impact continues to expand throughout Los Angeles through community events, partnerships and outreach. GSF is currently codifying its garden program piloted at 24th Street Elementary and making plans to work with other schools throughout LAUSD.

published Mission in About Us 2012-04-24 10:09:01 -0700


Mission.jpgGSF’s mission is to provide meaningful education for underserved youth in Los Angeles through garden-based learning in outdoor living classrooms. We work with Title 1 schools to sustainably implement our curriculum of experiential standards-based lessons in all academic subjects, as well as cooking and nutrition, to strengthen the connection between education, health, environmental awareness, and thriving communities

published About Us 2012-04-24 09:39:31 -0700



The Garden School Foundation is dedicated to providing an interdisciplinary program of education through garden-based learning in outdoor living classrooms.



Since our humble beginnings in 2003, Garden School Foundation has grown into a thriving, community-based program.




We’ve developed our comprehensive Seed to Table garden-based education program at the 24th Street School that includes monthly, standards-based lessons that focus on a unique subject in each K-5 year.



24th St. Garden Classroom

Our prototype garden classroom is located at the 24th Street Elementary School in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles.




  • Board of Directors
  • Staff



Teacher Voices

Hear what the teachers are saying about GSF!


published Contact in About Us 2012-04-22 14:31:00 -0700

Contact Us

Mailing Address:
PO Box 191300
Los Angeles, CA 90019

ph. (626) 633-6580

Please fill out the following form to be added to our mailing list. 

Thank you for your interest in the Garden School Foundation! Please leave us a message below and someone will get back to you shortly.

published Friends of GSF 2012-04-22 10:53:05 -0700

Friends of GSF


In addition to our daily garden classes and workdays, GSF partners with local non-profits like Voices for Action and RootDown LA to broaden the impact of our programming and support the efforts of like-minded organizations. Through these partnerships we are able to offer parent and community nutrition classes and job-training and peer-to-peer education for high-school students.

In addition to our core program partnerships, GSF partners with organizations from all over Los Angeles, including many local businesses that very generously donate their time and resources.


10th District Los Angeles City Council Member Herb Wesson

Adina World Beat Beverages | Visit Website

Big Sunday | Visit Website

C&S Nursery

Cal Blend Soils Inc. | Visit Website

California School Garden Network | Visit Website

Cava Grill | Visit Website

Chez Panisse Foundation | Visit Website

Common Ground Garden Program

Diggers Garden Club

Garden Club of America | Visit Website

Greenraising | Visit Website

Groundwork Coffee Company | Visit Website

GrowingGreat | Visit Website

Hancock Park Garden Club | Visit Website

HeirloomLA | Visit Website

Honest Company | Visit Website


Jolly Llama | Visit Website

Joseph Banks Cassava Chips | Visit Website

Kellogg Garden Products | Visit Website

La Provence Patisserie and Café | Visit Website

Les Dames d' Escoffier | Visit Website

Los Angeles Unified School District | Visit Website

Malibu Compost | Visit Website

McGrath Family Farms | Visit Website

Native Foods | Visit Website

National Wildlife Federation | Visit Website

Network for a Healthy California | Visit Website

The Pasadena Garden Club

Renees Garden | Visit Website

Santa Monica Farmers' Market | Visit Website

Slow Food, Los Angeles | Visit Website

Steaz Beverages | Visit Website

sweetgreen | Visit Website

Urban Organics

West County Gardeners

Windrose Farm | Visit Website


published Rules 2012-03-26 08:34:36 -0700


  1. Respect everyone's time. No spam.
  2. Be civil. No personal attacks.
  3. 1 account per person.

published Spread the word 2012-03-26 08:29:35 -0700

published Political Capital 2012-03-26 08:29:35 -0700

published Leaderboard 2012-03-26 08:29:33 -0700


Top 5 Most Earned Political Capital (All time)
Shelby Crowell
+592pc earned political capital
Jill & John Walsh
+544pc earned political capital
Hilary and Bayard Maybank
+386pc earned political capital
Amelia Saltsman
+318pc earned political capital
Robin Moler
+317pc earned political capital

published Follows 2012-03-26 08:29:33 -0700

published Followers 2012-03-26 08:29:33 -0700

published Get Involved 2012-03-26 08:29:31 -0700

We'd love you to join us!

There are many ways to get involved with the Garden School Foundation! Please use the sign-up form below if you'd like to volunteer, or the links on the left for other opportunities such as internships and employment. If you have any questions about volunteering, please reach out to Elizabeth Hall at elizabeth@gardenschoolfoundation.org. We hope to see you in the garden soon!

published Join 2012-03-26 08:29:30 -0700

published Suggestions 2012-03-26 08:29:00 -0700

published Events 2012-03-26 08:29:00 -0700

published Find friends 2012-03-26 08:29:00 -0700

published News 2012-03-26 08:29:00 -0700


City Seedlings Summer Camp 2017
Posted by · February 21, 2017 2:58 PM · 1 reaction

Announcing GSF's Garden Educator Training Program
Posted by · February 21, 2017 12:12 PM

A Principal's Perspective
Posted by · December 09, 2016 1:45 PM · 1 reaction

published Home 2012-03-26 08:29:00 -0700

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Julia Cotts
Harnessing the power of school gardens to transform lives!