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Scholarship–for garden-related study

13 Dec

Source: Huntington Ranch blog

Interested in building your knowledge base about edible gardens and other community garden/food issues? Finally ironing out the design of that fish-driven bioponics system on your veranda? Taking a course on landscape design and history in summer school?

The Southern California Garden Club has a $1000 scholarship for just this kind of undergraduate study. It’s a relatively painless application process, as you can see on their website. If you are interested in applying, contact me off-line, and I can tell you more specs about the scholarship. I can also help you frame your work in this class in this particular genre of application-essay style, so you give them the information they need in a pleasing and accessible narrative form.

Let’s Help the Community!

3 Dec

Occidental College, a private liberal arts institution, has always been dedicated to positively contributing to the Los Angeles community. A large community oriented advocacy organization based at this college is the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI), and within this organization is the sub-group called the Center for Food & Justice, or the CFJ.

The Center for Food & Justice is a very progress-oriented group with two main objectives. Firstly, they look to improve access to fresh, as well as healthy foods in all communities. For now, they are primarily focused on the underprivileged communities where access to healthy food is scarce, and for now, they are focusing on the Los Angeles area.

Their second objective is to promote community development, social justice, healthy eating habits, preserving the environment, and positive uses for land.

A USC community garden could prove very useful for the first objective. Imagine if children from the underprivileged schools were allowed to take trips to a USC-owned plot of land (a large one, preferably), where we could get master gardeners (like Florence Nishida) and others to teach them how to properly grow their own food. By doing this, the children could learn about how to eat healthily, and how to grow their own natural food. In addition to showing them how, all of the food grown in the USC garden could be donated to the children in these schools.

Currently, the CFJ partakes and leads many programs designed to accomplish their goals. One example of their programs is Farm to School which teaches communities how to pick up good farming practices. Another one, Project CAFE works to implement community-directed activities that relate to food and health in low-income areas within Los Angeles. The CFJ is also involved in the Grocery Accountability Project, or GAP, which engages in research and works to increase the performance of food retail corporations in the areas of food access, labeling, supply, health, and labor standards. Another program, which holds special interest for me (as it should with other Modernology students), is Project GROW. The main purpose of this is to explore the potential for gardens and healthy food as a way to improve the lives of clients and staff of grassroots domestic violence agencies. Young people literally jump with joy when they realize that as a result of their actions, some fruit or vegetable has grown.

I’m willing to bet that if a USC program similar to what I have described previously were to actually come to fruition, some bigger-named speakers would be willing to participate to help the community to help with the CFJ’s second objective. Let’s make it happen! Also, the CFJ, as well as all of their projects, are running quite low on funds. They are accepting any and all donations. For more information, please visit

Garden update Nov 22

1 Dec

In midst of the Thanksgiving festivities later in the week i had forgotten to write my blog entry. The thoughts of all the foods i would be devouring on that Thursday used up any of my brain power, but now that I am finally out of my food coma I can think clearly now.


Overall the garden, or what was left of it, looked great. I know the next day the rest of the plot was harvested so I assume I was one of the last people to see the plot at its (almost)fullest. I did however notice that the pumpkin did create a fruit, and that i suppose it wasn’t a waste after all.


Here are some of the photos i took.

Garden Update 11/25

26 Nov

I hope everyone had a good thanksgiving yesterday! I went to the garden yesterday and it looked in pretty good shape after our harvesting/clean up efforts on Tuesday. The soil was fairly damp, so I watered lightly. The tomato plants we tied up and cleared of dead material, looked healthy and the pumpkin, which “showed signs of life”, according to Professor also looked to be in good condition. The other plants, radishes, mustard greens, etc are much less abundant after we harvested a lot of them on Tuesday, but in the next week or so, I think what is left should be ready to eat. The garden looks good overall, and I’m really impressed with what we were able to do with our plot of land in just one semester!

Notes on Working at the Garden 11/23

24 Nov

It had been a few weeks since we had been in the garden so there was quite a bit of work to do. First of all the pumpkin plant had grown so much that it was covering many plants from getting sunlight. Secondly, branches and leaves had fallen into some of the plots, especially the multicolored radish plot. Thirdly, the tomato plant had grown and needed to be tied up. Lastly, there was so much harvesting we needed to do!

We harvested only one of the dichon because the others were not ready, but we had a lot of mustard greens ready to be harvested. Along with those, bakchoy and radish were harvested. We had two plots of radishes–one multicolored and the other all red. The multicolored plot was guerilla planted whereas the other was not. After weeks of allowing both to grow, it is valid to say that guerilla planting proved ineffective. Majority of the multicolored radish either did not grow or came out stunted and in the other plot almost every radish grew to normal size.

We also found that two of the three pepper plants had disappeared and the only one left had dried up. It’s stem had turn woody, meaning it had died. The pepper plant was in the far left corner of the entire plot, an area where most sunlight hits. It was probably receiving more sunlight than needed and less water than needed. Spacing could not have been an issue because there were no other plants crowding around the pepper plant

We did find a brand new pumpkin from the pumkin patch we had not planted. There were also some new tomatoes that had not been ripe yet. Aside from those things, much of the food, like the celery and the daikon, is almost ready to be harvested. They may need a couple more days to be fully grown.

Pictures for this day were taken by Aaron.

This is post is a combination of notes from Anuja and Patrick

Garden Update 11/23

24 Nov

The garden looked good today, the soil was fairly damp from the moisture in the air because of the cold. I lightly watered the garden, but didn’t soak the soil because the class was meeting soon after to harvest. The plants look really ready to harvest. The mustard greens seem to be the most abundant plant along with the radishes. There is also a yellow, full-size, pumpkin ready to harvest. I noticed a bale of hay sitting near the garden and assume that we will be laying down more hay in the garden today in class. Overall the garden looks in good shape and we should have a lot of work to do today in class in terms of harvesting!

Garden Update 11/13

15 Nov

After harvesting, I saw many places that plants were used to be. I could do good watering and take some pictures.
All plants seemed healthy and fresh!

Garden Update – 11/10

11 Nov

Today was quite chilly. The garden, however, seems to be looking better than ever. The color of the plants looks fantastic, and the soil remained moist. Bok choy looks amazing, as well as everything else! I managed to hold up a few leaves to snap some cool pictures of our stuff! Things are looking better than ever. Perhaps this cool weather has been really good.

Garden Update 11/09

11 Nov

The garden looks great! All the plants are green and the soil was still a little moist from the previous watering (probably due to the cool temperatures this week). The bok choy is growing quite large and its leaves are ready for harvesting. There is also an area of new sprouts, which seem to be growing well.

Garden Update November 8th

9 Nov

So i must apologize in advance because my camera on my phone suddenly wanted to stop working on me today so I have no photos to share (curse these Verizon phones). Anyways, everything looked great today. I didn’t know it rained in the morning, but when i arrived to the garden it was apparent in how moist the soil still was. Thus I watered accordingly. The mustard greens were leafy, the radishes were looking chunky, and the daikon looked like it was exploding from the ground. However despite all the good, I believe it is the pumpkins time to go. It has wildly taken over the entire plot and has started to stunt the growth of many of the the produce. The tomatoes also seem to be growing wildly, yet they haven’t been producing much and i think their space could be better used. Also another sad thing is that the leafs on all the plants seen to be the favorite food of many of the insects. Some of them were completely destroyed but i couldn’t find any bugs on the underside of the leafs. I don’t know what we can do but we have to somehow find a way to protect out plants from being eaten by our not so friendly inhabitants. Overall the garden was looking great and looked ready to be harvested again. So whoever wants some fresh greens go to the garden and pick them up before the bugs get to them.