Teaching Garden-Inglewood

Gabby Reece creator of thehoneyline.com, a place for women to get nutrition and fitness support, helped launch the Teaching Garden an initiative to promote ecologically sound food and lifestyle choices, at a kick-off event at Kelso Elementary School in Inglewood, CA, on Monday March 22, 2010. The organization was founded by philanthropist Kelly Meyer one of Gabby’s dear friends and members of her honeyline fitness group in Malibu. Kelly is inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign focused on teaching nutrition and fitness education to kids.

Gabby was joined by two other celebrity nutrition advocates Toby Maguire (Spiderman 2002, Sea Biscuit 2003), Los Angeles Laker Derek Fisher and Iron Chef America’s Cat Cora, who cooked with the elementary schoolers and planted an organic garden.


The Teaching Garden is a place where teachers and principals with community partners from the entertainment, sports and food industries, the Farmer-Veteran Coalition and GrowingGreat come together to create a real-life garden laboratory.
In this garden, students through the simple process of putting a seed into the earth, nurturing it and ultimately harvesting the food, learn about effort and results, delayed gratification, and cause and effect. The ultimate goal: hands-on exploration of life sciences that leads to one’s positive choices for health and fitness.

This collaborative program engages students to learn and understand the connection between food sources and health. The Teaching Garden encourages participants to pay this knowledge forward and implement change one school at a time.

Poor nutrition and fitness impact children across all socioeconomic levels, although statistics show a significantly higher incidence of obesity and diabetes in vulnerable communities. Educating students about food through the Teaching Garden gives children the opportunity to take this information home and educate their families about food and lifestyle choices.

The Farmer-Veteran Coalition with Michael O’Gorman will help bring the garden to life through the help of veterans who have been trained as organic farmers. This provides our veterans with a mission to build the foundational skills of students by sharing their knowledge of organic farming. The Teaching Garden is a unique opportunity for veterans and students to find purpose together inside a real-life garden laboratory.

The Teaching Garden collaborates with GrowingGreat to provide a sustainable school garden and nutrition education program. Using GrowingGreat’s standards-based curriculum, trained teachers deliver interactive classroom nutrition and garden lessons connected to core content subject areas such as math, science, language arts and social studies. Planting from seed, cultivating, harvesting, and eating from their gardens, students learn where food comes from and that food is the fuel for a healthy body. Students are empowered with the knowledge and the tools to make higher quality food choices that will impact their overall health and well-being. Schools will be interactively connected via Skype and SMART Board technology, provided by the Teaching Garden, further enabling students to build and maintain relationships and to share knowledge from their garden experience.

Sports industry icons Gabby Reece and Derek Fisher reinforce the connection between nutrition and fitness and the importance of healthy eating and exercise as part of their training regimen. By involving the kids in active and vigorous play, athletes will inspire children to make the connection between nutritional caloric intake and energy output.

With the support of our guest chef Cat Cora, students will help prepare a healthy meal made with ingredients that will be grown in the Teaching Garden. These instructions can be taken home and applied in their everyday lives. In addition, food industry partners Chipotle Mexican Grill will provide a lunch made with fresh ingredients to showcase a healthy fast-food alternative along with water and Neuro water beverage as a substitute for drinks with high-fructose corn syrup. The garden will become a community gathering place where parents and students take ownership of the production and selection of their food choices.

Ultimately, this project integrates private and public funding sources for community service, innovative math-and science-based curriculum, technology, nutrition/fitness/health, environmental justice and community building. The possibility of a student farmers’ market adds to the sustainability of the Teaching Garden and provides a continued source of self-funding.

The principles of the Teaching Garden are to create a network of 1000 schools within the next two years who will have implemented the program, sharing curriculum, ideas and communicating with each other. This will occur through a partnership with www.takepart.com, the Social Action Network of Participant Media. This innovative partnership will allow participating schools to receive the materials and curriculum to start the program and connect with other participating schools.

The Farmer-Veteran Coalition, a team of trained organic farmers, will participate in the Teaching Garden, helping the students bring the garden to life. The Teaching Garden has also teamed with GrowingGreat, a nonprofit nutrition education organization that will provide a year-long nutrition curriculum which will support the long-term goals and sustainability of the Teaching Garden.

The kick-off event for the Teaching Garden at Kelso will include a morning nutrition/cooking class with Iron Chef’s Cat Cora, planting of the organic garden, fitness demonstration with Kelso’s 700 students by Gabrielle Reece (www.thehoneyline.com) and a discussion on the importance of nutrition as a an athlete with Derek Fisher. Tobey Maguire will be on hand to talk about healthy food choices and inspire the kids to activate their own healthy school lunch campaign by writing letters to the school’s Superintendant and school board. In line with the principals of the Teaching Garden, lunch will be provided by Chipotle a healthy alternative fast food choice.
Additionally, students from Point Dume Marine Science School led by principal Chi Kim, will communicate digitally via Skype with Kelso students. The interactive session will be a pay-it-forward experience as the children from Point Dume, who have already created their Teaching Garden, will be able to offer tips and advice on their counterparts at Kelso Elementary to successfully complete their own.

After Kelso’s garden is complete, the school’s first Smart Board, provided by the Teaching Garden program, will connect students from partner schools, to compare and contrast growth patterns in the gardens and share stories about their discoveries on their journey to growing and eating slow food harvested by their own hands. Then it will be Kelso’s turn to pay-it-forward, inspiring other schools to stay active and make better eating choices.

For more information about Teaching Garden or the March 22nd event please visit  Teaching Garden’s participant page.