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  2. Stunning work with high school kids and urban ag in Austin.  Lessons learned every season that the “adults” who decide education policy and spending probably need to learn as well.

     
  3. Help Launch A Green School Crowdsourcing Website.

    The #green Shorty Awards Campaign was an attempt to find support for school gardens across the US using… twitter.  In the process of finding support we found over $1 million in seeds, plants, compost and landscape design services for schools and youth food projects in New Orleans, Portland, Los Angeles, Washington DC and yes, New York.  The shortyawards are tonight, and ironically, Alice Waters is in San Francisco presenting in front of the corporate execs of Twitter to expand her “delicious revolution, the @edibleschoolyard.  The work of greening schools and kids takes all-hands-on-deck.  It will take your hands too.

     

    All projects have similar needs: seeds, plants, compost, landscape design services AND a few tools, staff salaries and a greenhouse or two would be nice.  It would be stellar if we could use this “bootstrap-DIY-donorschoose-crowdsourcing” festival to find the funds to launch a platform that supports greening projects year round.  That’s where you, the tech crowd come in.  We need start-up funds.  We need your marketing and tech brains to create a platform that allows schools all over the US to access support as they work to not just green their campuses, but also grow community and take on the childhood obesity good-food-fight. 

     

    The Robert Wood Johnson reported last year that obesity-related illnesses would surpass $300 billion dollars a year.  Nearly 20% of school-age children are obese.  That’s a tragic loss of quality of life for way too many kids.  Additionally, British researchers are now linking food additives and preservatives to ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder.  The fast food industry annually spends over 10 billion in marketing to children and the USDA school lunch budget is just under $30 billion.  While these problems are staggering in scope and impact, there are solution at hand: kids that grow broccoli, eat broccoli.

     

    School gardens, according to the California Dept. of Education, don’t just get kids outside, they are the only proven method of getting kids to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.  Gardens build team work skills and 77% of all kids that participate in environmental ed programs do better on tests too.  But gardens don’t just grow themselves.  Current state education budgets have been slashed.  The USDA has offered just $1 million in federal, pilot funds for gardens.  Teachers and parents at schools are forced to fend for themselves if they want to effectively fight childhood obesity and get kids outside working to grow better food choices.

     

    We have a seedling of a project on our hands and as “amateurs” we’ve found corporate support for our work.  To get past that seedling stage.  We’re in your hands.  Thank you all who’ve supported us this far.  On behalf of school gardens everywhere I look forward to all the help that you can provide.

     

    Mud Baron

    schoolgarden@gmail.com

     
  4. “My general attitude that there should never be a teacher that has to beg for anything,” Yeah? I said it and thanks Jeff Spurrier and Ann Summa for capturing all the magic, sparkles and unicorns.

     
  5. Highland Park Community Leaves No Tree Behind (or Veggie Seedling).  From Highland Park Patch.

     
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    School Garden Coop Wishlist: a List That Covers Everyone

    The heading could have easily read: How We Lost By 90 Votes and Won the Shorty Awards Anyway with over $300,000 in Support.  Internet contests, ugh.  In the past couple of years I ignored the Shortys.  “Ewwwww,” I said, “an online vanity contest akin to playing Warcraft and having fast clicking gamer kids clean your clock in seconds.”  But this year when @may_gun gave me the first #green nomination, a light clicked: hey let’s get out the word about what school gardens need.   With $3-500,000 in in-kind pledges I think we did more than that for our school garden, kitchen classroom, urban ag., and community garden and youth farm justice programs. 


    More importantly it showed me that with my new-found freedom (I was sacked in January as the Green Policy Director by my School Board boss after engaging @Jamie_Oliver) 3 weeks ago that “reality is negotiable.”  The Shortys are not a fundraising platform per se.  Buy why not translate media attention into support for some of the most awesome (not in Twitter-savvy terms, but real world) peeps doing great work to do as Michael Pollan says “explore the most important relationship you have to the environment, your food.”

    So let’s keep up the support and let’s keep up the attention.  I’m seeking both foundation and tech funds to launch the School Garden Coop as a “donors choose” for school gardens and campus greening projects.  I’ve spoken with a few start up guys and they’ve told me that what we’ve done in a few weeks (via the Shortys) is more than they’ve gotten in years and after serious numbers in financing.

    Simply connecting angels with angels and allowing the synergy of inspired donors that can crowdsource their philanthropic intentions is an amazing conversation that TWITTER can facilitate.  Thank you @ev.

    We need $500,000 to cover the following in one-year costs

    • Sponsorship Coordinator(s)
    • Program Officer(s)
    • Web Platform Team
    • Content Producer
    • Me
    • Assistant, Me Jr.
    • Operating

    Michelle Obama’s #letsmove tapped the culinary community to build gardens.  As a grower and a contractor I generally leave the kitchen to the, well, chefs.  Agriculture Sec Vilsack initiated the @peoplesgarden but only one proposal for $1,000,000 is to serve the whole country. @foodcorps is being launched in only in 10 states and serving just a few (California, for example is home to 20% of the country’s children of color and grows over 40% of the nations fruits/vegetables and is not on the list); in Los Angeles alone there are 1100 sites with nearly 2,000 schools in the actual county.  We need more Costco-bulk model, than Whole Foods if everyone is going to have a school garden, culinary arts, or food justice youth program. 

    As you might expect, finding need was complicated but not overly so.  Soliciting wishlists from starved garden projects in Brooklyn and New Orleans was far easier than overcoming the skepticism of all involved: You are going to use Twitter for what?  Well, we just took a silly internet contest and made it a green schools version of @donorschoose with a little @ushahidi flavor and a whole lotta @crowdrise snarky idealism.  And in three weeks we mos def had a stellar #beta testing of the #proofofconcept. 

    For program officers at foundations: look at the wishlists and profiles of the 20 or so groups list for your  “needs assessment”

    For sponsorship partners look at the opportunity to use twitter for your #causebasedmarketing work.  Look how corporations like Burpee were able to engage both the media and consumer audiences seamlessly.

    For vc/startup angels look at the corporations and the marketing teams involved, the names of the nominators and most importantly look at how we harnessed the power of #SOCMEDIA for #SOCENT. 

    For School Gardens look at where asking will take you if you let the world see just how profound the work you are doing is in engaging kids in nutrition, sustainabilty, academic excellence and community justice.  I’m inspired by all that you do in Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Philladelphia and of course, LA.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to be your cheerleader and connector to support you deserve as you #green our kids.

    yrs,

    Mud, School Garden Coop

    If you need still need proof of the need, check out our still growing project list here.

     
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LAUSD owns over 5,000 acres of asphalt.  Gardens cover less than one percent of our campuses.  We can do better.
     

    LAUSD owns over 5,000 acres of asphalt.  Gardens cover less than one percent of our campuses.  We can do better.

     
  9. I’m not waiting for Michelle Obama to invite you. I’m inviting the #GREEN industry… landscape contractors, architects and designers, Home Depot & Lowes, nurserymen and retailers, farmers & slow food devotees, WalMart & WholeFoods, horticulture suppliers and mom & pop retailers alike… to step up and build gardens at our schools. Let’s Move!
    — Mud Baron
     
  10.  1

     
    Thank You Round 1 Donors!
Mia Lehr, ASLA for $25,000 in design work for school gardens in LA and New Orleans.  
Tutti Frutti Farm: $20,000 in seasonal produce for Bistro Mundo at Santee HS, LA
The American Dahlia Society: $12500 in (2500) dahlia tubers for SanPedro Science Center Nursery and Our School at Blair Grocery
Burpee Seed Co. $12,500 in seeds and plants for 225 Schools across the US.
California Flower Bulb Co.: $10,000 in available flower bulbs for LA, NoLa and NYC school gardens
Kellogg Garden Products: $5,000 in Soil Amendments for West Coast schools.
McGrath Family Farm: $5000 in seasonal produce for Bistro Mundo at Santee HS, LA
Organiks Organic Plant Co.:$5,000 in organic plant seedlings for schools in LA, NoLA, DC and NYC
Monrovia Plants: $5,000 in drought-tolerant plants for San Pedro Science Center Nursery 
HozeLock, UK: $3000 100 garden hoses for US school gardens
South Central Farm CSA: $2500 in seasonal produce for Bistro Mundo at Santee HS, LA
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden: $1,000 in California Native Plants for San Pedro Science Center Nursery

    Thank You Round 1 Donors!

    • Mia Lehr, ASLA for $25,000 in design work for school gardens in LA and New Orleans. 
    • Tutti Frutti Farm: $20,000 in seasonal produce for Bistro Mundo at Santee HS, LA
    • The American Dahlia Society: $12500 in (2500) dahlia tubers for SanPedro Science Center Nursery and Our School at Blair Grocery
    • Burpee Seed Co. $12,500 in seeds and plants for 225 Schools across the US.
    • California Flower Bulb Co.: $10,000 in available flower bulbs for LA, NoLa and NYC school gardens
    • Kellogg Garden Products: $5,000 in Soil Amendments for West Coast schools.
    • McGrath Family Farm: $5000 in seasonal produce for Bistro Mundo at Santee HS, LA
    • Organiks Organic Plant Co.:$5,000 in organic plant seedlings for schools in LA, NoLA, DC and NYC
    • Monrovia Plants: $5,000 in drought-tolerant plants for San Pedro Science Center Nursery
    • HozeLock, UK: $3000 100 garden hoses for US school gardens
    • South Central Farm CSA: $2500 in seasonal produce for Bistro Mundo at Santee HS, LA
    • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden: $1,000 in California Native Plants for San Pedro Science Center Nursery