ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S GARDEN COLLABORATIVE
In April 2012, First 5 LA awarded a five-year, $5 million grant to construct eight community gardens in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles County. The Children’s Garden Collaborative Initiative, also known as Little Green Fingers, provides communities with the opportunity to develop the infrastructure to grow and consume fruits and vegetables in an effort to support obesity prevention, increase food security, provide physical activity and support community cohesion. The gardens will provide a minimum of 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each year.
WHO IS SERVED BY THIS PROGRAM?
Families with children prenatal to age 5 are prioritized for outreach and membership in all of the community gardens, but there is often space for other community members and residents to become garden members.
WHAT KINDS OF SERVICES ARE PROVIDED?
The Children’s Garden Collaborative/Little Green Fingers funds the following: professional design incorporating community input; construction of garden sites, individual plots and amenities; gardening education about how and what to grow; nutrition classes for members to better use and cook the produce they grow; and ongoing leadership development to build sustainable garden membership clubs.
WHO IS FUNDED UNDER THIS INVESTMENT?
The Los Angeles Conservation Corps is the program administrator. Other partners include The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Dake Luna Consultants, Master Gardeners from the UC Cooperative Extension Program and Nicole Gatto, an independent evaluator.
WHO ARE WE PARTNERING WITH TO IMPLEMENT THIS INVESTMENT?
The Children’s Garden Collaborative/Little Green Fingers has leveraged an additional $110,000 as of June 30, 2014 for supplemental activities and enhancement of the program. This project has received additional grants from other entities, but First 5 LA did not partner with them to develop or implement the project.
WHICH INVESTMENT AREA DOES THIS EFFORT FALL UNDER?
WHAT ARE THE LATEST OUTCOMES OF THIS INVESTMENT?
Six of the eight community gardens have completed construction. They are located in Koreatown, West Athens, Pasadena, Sylmar, Lancaster and unincorporated East LA. The seventh garden is under construction in Wilmington. Each garden provides a minimum of 30 plots and the project is currently serving over 100 families with children prenatal to age 5.
HOW DOES THIS EFFORT ADDRESS FIRST 5 LA’s MISSION TO ENSURE THAT ALL CHILDREN ENTER KINDERGARTEN READY TO SUCCEED IN SCHOOL AND LIFE?
Under First 5 LA’s new 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, one of the target outcomes is Community Capacity: increasing community capacity to support and promote the safety, healthy development and well-being of children prenatal to age 5 and their families. Community gardens serve as gathering places for families with young children to interact, develop social connections and gain leadership skills.
Each garden develops its own membership guidelines and decisions are made collectively by garden leadership. All garden sites were are chosen based upon the number of children 0 to age 5 children living in the surrounding areas, and many were previously underutilized empty lots or sections of parks without any existing amenities. Four of the eight gardens are located within Best Start communities.