An integral part of our Weekend, After school, and Summer Programming, the Urban Farming Program consists of learning the basics of organic gardening, environmental stewardship, animal husbandry, and nutritious cooking. The grounds and garden act as a laboratory where participants are empowered to make healthier decisions by raising a plant from seed to skillet. Every class ends with a cooking demonstration where girls can taste the delicious bounty they have been growing and share the harvest of their labors with their families.
The Urban Farming Program is crucial to residents of Los Angeles’ City. Council District 13, where many of our TTR participants live, have the least amount of green space in the city and the obesity rate among kids is nearly 30 percent. A direct correlation has made between economic hardship and lack of access to resources and information to improve overall health. The Urban Farm is a space for young women to escape food deserts and connect with the natural land and LA River, just adjacent to our property. Every girl leaves with a memento in the form a plant so that they can start their own garden on the balconies or windowsills and share their new skills with their families.
“The best thing about Taking the Reins is the garden because in the morning sun it looks like a fairytale.” – Devyn, 12
The Garden Ranger Program at Taking the Reins
This innovative program ensures that participants benefit from an edible garden that is taken care of throughout the year. A trained Garden Ranger is consistently on site for a half a day, 2-3 times per week to care for the garden and to deliver our straightforward and cheerful curriculum. Taking the Reins hosts a functioning seedling station, which supplies EnrichLA gardens across Los Angeles with organic seedlings to fill their gardens. Taking the Reins also has a successful compost system that provides compost to over 50 EnrichLA gardens across Los Angeles. With this partnership, Taking the Reins is reducing waste, cutting costs, and helping green Los Angeles, while providing wonderful programs for girls from all over this city.
The ranger program allows participants to spend valuable time outdoors and encourages them to have personal connections with the garden space.
Participants are challenged academically through our interdisciplinary curriculum, which includes a STEM curriculum, emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and math in the garden. Students learn to problem solve, innovate, and efficiently grown food organically.
The Garden Ranger is responsible for the success and growth of the garden throughout the school year and during breaks. The Garden Ranger works closely with TTR participants to teach garden skills and proper use of tools to ensure a bountiful harvest.
The Garden Ranger program encourages parent and community involvement. Taking the Reins hosts volunteer workdays that are open to the community to make continuous improvements in the garden. Our Garden Rangers blog about their work every week at enrichla.org