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California School Garden Advisory Group

AB 1535 is providing significant money to 526 California schools to develop and/or sustain school Gardens through Network for a Healthy California

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California water conservation trees and watertable September - 2007 Cal. AB 1535 is providing significant money to 526 LAUSD schools to develop and/or sustain school Gardens. The funds are being administered through the Network for a Healthy California-LAUSD and the LA Calif School Gardens Network. Each of the 526 schools in receiving $2,500-$5,000 for the development and sustaining their gardens. The individual schools are free to purchase their own materials and supplies provided venders can work with purchase orders. The AB1535 funding is a very big deal and we hope will result is a big push for the use of gardens as a tool for education.

The Advisory Group provides support and guidance to schools wishing to start or expand existing instructional school gardens. The list of members is attached.

"Children are learning that you are what you eat and you can eat what you grow," said O’Connell. "This is a valuable lesson for students because they learn about agriculture in hands-on instructional settings; tend to eat the fruits and vegetables they grow; learn the link between them and the environment; and get exercise to boot."

Assembly Bill 1535 (Núñez) was signed into law in 2006 and authorized O’Connell to establish the School Gardens Advisory Group. The Advisory Group is designed to support program efforts through technical assistance, resources, in-kind support, site visits, and other related efforts, to promote instructional school gardens in California's public schools. Strong anecdotal evidence shows that children who participate in school garden or outdoor classrooms are more excited and enthusiastic about learning. As they plant and harvest their own fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to eat them. Also, as their knowledge of nutrition increases, so does their preference for fruits and vegetables that leads to healthier eating patterns. Healthy, active, and well-nourished children are more likely to attend school and are more prepared and motivated to learn that are all factors in helping students achieve academically.

California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. "We hope to leverage their expertise in areas such as food production, nutrition, obesity prevention, and recycling. I'm excited about the lifelong lessons that California schoolchildren will be able to take with them as they participate in the reborn School Gardens program."

AB 1535 also provides $15 million in seed money for schools to develop a school garden or to expand existing ones for academic instruction. The California Department of Education will soon award 72 percent of that amount to schools that have requested funds. The remaining money will eventually be offered to schools on a competitive basis once the criteria have been established with the help of the Advisory Group.

There are 26 members of the Advisory Group representing diverse occupations from around the state, and all have experience in instructional school gardens. For more information on California’s School Gardens Program, please visit School Garden Program Overview - Healthy Eating & Nutrition Education.



County of Residence

Alderson, Tim

California School Garden Network; AgriGator, Inc

Los Angeles (Kern)

Bartholomew, Cassie

StopWaste.Org, Alameda County

Contra Costa

Bishop, Sylvia

48th District Agricultural Association

Los Angeles

Borges, Don

Modesto Junior College


Boynton, Christine

Alameda County Office of Education Nutritional Learning


Burns, Helga

Del Norte Unified School District

Del Norte

Chappell, David



Culbertson, Judith

California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom


D'Agostini, Daniel



Emery, Pamela

California Fertilizer Foundation


Hamilton, Bonnie

Kaiser Permanente


Hayden-Smith, Rose

UC Cooperative Extension


Kerkman, Mike

Huntington Botanical Gardens

Los Angeles

King, David

The Learning Garden

Los Angeles

Lewis, Andrea

California Environmental Protection Agency


Lewis, Briana

Western Growers Charitable Foundation


Mandl, Tonya

Los Angeles Unified School District Nutrition Network

Los Angeles

Marholin, Jan

Fillmore Unified School District


Maynard, William

City of Sacramento Parks Department


Nolan, Mark

San Mateo County Office of Education

San Mateo

Ohmart, Jeri

UC Davis Children's Garden Program


Pernell, April

Descanso Gardens

Los Angeles

Preschel, Lisa

Occidental Arts & Ecology Center


Sherk, Bonnie

Life Frames, Inc. & A Living Library

San Francisco

Skerrett, Mary

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates


Watkins, Justin

UC Cooperative Extension


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