URBAN TECH GARDEN SCHOOL & COMMUNITY PROGRAM
Under the direction of Co-Founder, Nicole Landers and Garden Director, Ben Hirschfeld along with the leadership at Edwin Markham Middle School and Principal Alex Kim, the "Watts Healing Tech Garden" and orchard is a safe, tactile learning environment for students to develop a passion for healthy living, sustainability while providing access to fresh nutrient dense foods.
CHG partnered with the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator (LACI) to launch the first of its kind in the country an urban garden at a public school utilizing technology that will not only conserve water and energy but also allow us to reduce waste into energy.
These applications will be shared with the students of Markham, their parents, teachers, and the community at large to expand the possibility of near future green jobs and many vocational training opportunities.
LACI supports our mission as we work towards growing and strengthening green, inclusive communities like Watts. Ultimately showcasing how we grow food more water and energy efficient with a greater return of investment.
People, planet and profit. One for all.
One of the first technologies we have in the garden is, Drought Diet, sub-irrigation which can save over 50% of water.
With the support of the LACI, LA DWP, Pledgeling, GO Campaign, Earth Friendly Products, Jena & Michael King Foundation, other grantors and additional donors, we converted the lifeless, one-acre garden and orchard into the beginnings of our “Watts Healing Tech Garden” at LAUSD Edwin Markham Middle School. Ultimately turning this this space into a beautiful, safe, outdoor healing classroom to teach agriculture, clean technology, STEAM learning (A for Agriculture), culinary skills, vocational training and inspire the next generation to do even better.
Watts is a 2.12-square-mile neighborhood in Los Angeles that has one of the highest population densities, the majority living under the poverty line with the highest rate of heart disease, obesity and diabetes from a recent study from Charles Drew University, the most single parent families coupled with the highest rate of gang crime and drug abuse. Watts is only 10 miles from Venice Beach. This short video tell the tale best.
Watts is a known "food desert" where residents have little to no access to healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Edwin Markham Middle School is ranked as one of the five lowest scoring middle schools in the LAUSD district.