School Garden at Explore College Preparatory Middle School, East Oakland
In collaboration with West Oakland Youth Standing Empowered (WYSE) and the East Lake YMCA afterschool program, Planting Justice led a weekly "Food Justice and Culinary Arts" program at Explore College Prep Middle School in East Oakland. In April 2009, along with eighty 6th and 7th graders, we planted the first 24 fruit trees at the Burbank Garden hillside right next to the school. With a core group of 12 students, we also built an annual raised bed garden dubbed the Domino Effect. These gardens provided the students with hands-on educational experiences in growing food and understanding nutrition through their afterschool program. Our food justice curriculum examines the structural inequalities of the industrial food system, reflects on our individual and collective responsibilities to human rights and social justice, and empowers our students to create tangible solutions that build community, self-esteem, and regenerative solutions to economic and ecological crises in our neighborhoods. Check out our pictures and video below! Due to the structural inequalities of our nation's educational system, Explore College Prep closed down at the end of the 2009-2010 schoolyear. We will continue to develop the perennial food forest at Burbank Garden by holding community work-parties and free permaculture workshops, helping to empower local residents with the skills and inspiration to develop this garden as a vital community resource. Check out the website of WYSE, a program of Mandela Marketplace: http://www.mandelamarketplace.org/9.html.
Stay tuned for our next community work-party, and further ways in which you can participate!