MONTEBELLO – Student gardeners exhibited green thumbs and fresh organic produce March 28 during the first Montebello Unified Farmers Market event of 2015. The Farmers Market, part of an ongoing community outreach program, is stocked by fruits and vegetables grown exclusively at 15 MUSD elementary, intermediate and high schools.
“At Montebello Unified, we are committed to providing the community with healthy alternatives while teaching our students environmental sustainability and the importance of making positive, lasting choices,” Montebello Unified Board President Edgar Cisneros said. “I am grateful and proud to be able to bring my own family to shop for organic chard, kale and other seasonal produce grown at our schools by our students and community.”
The Farmers Market produce is harvested by more than 500 MUSD garden club members, who study agricultural techniques and nutrition education throughout the school year. In their gardens, students raise tomatoes, celery, sugar peas, peppers, onions and a wide range of leafy greens, fruits and herbs, which are then made available to the community at the Farmers Market.
“Currently, our District has 21 school gardens with two upcoming gardens to be completed by the end of the school year, placing us that much closer to achieving our goal of being the first school district with gardens in all 28 of our school sites,” said Montebello Unified Clerk Lani Cupchoy. “We are focused on promoting healthy eating, principles of sustainability and water conservation while practicing the seed to table concept.”
Attendees of the Farmers Market also availed themselves of free health and wellness services provided by Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles. Students from Bell Gardens High School GREEN Pathway and the Applied Technology Center Health Science Pathway gave presentations on environmental awareness and health, respectively. Entertainment was provided by the Bell Gardens Intermediate Generation Dance Team and Javier “DJ Styles” Ortiz, a current MUSD employee.
“It truly is a pleasure to attend these events, which also bring together our District community and families in the name of health,” Superintendent of Education Susanna Contreras Smith said. “I look forward to future Farmers Markets to stock up on produce and spend the morning with our students, parents and teachers.”
Montebello Gardens Elementary, La Merced Intermediate and Vail High students sold their homegrown produce for the first time, joining returning clubs from Bell Gardens, Garfield, Cesar Chavez, La Merced, Montebello Park, Suva, and Wilcox elementary schools; Bell Gardens, Macy, Montebello and Suva Intermediate schools and Bell Gardens High School.
“As a District ahead of the curve in creating and maintaining school gardens, we are so proud of those involved in growing our program, especially our students for selling their harvests each season,” Superintendent of Schools Cleve Pell said. “We look forward to expanding our student gardening programs to promote healthy living in all our school communities.”
Student gardeners exhibited green thumbs and fresh organic produce March 28 during the first Montebello Unified Farmers Market event of 2015, which is part of an ongoing community outreach program to harvest and sell organic produce grown exclusively at 15 MUSD elementary, intermediate and high schools.