Low-Cost Local “Victory Gardens” Classes Taught By Master Gardeners

Thursday, 22 Aug 2013, 8:34:00 AM

Mirror Staff

The program is offered by the UC based-educational institution where all teachers are volunteers and class fees cover costs not teachers.
Courtesy Photo
The program is offered by the UC based-educational institution where all teachers are volunteers and class fees cover costs not teachers.

With the recent release of a report on urban agriculture in Los Angeles, Cultivate L.A., it’s become clear that interest in locally grown, organically raised produce has never been higher.

Los Angeles was once an agricultural paradise, but suburban residential development covered the fertile land with housing tracts and shopping malls.

During war times, Victory Gardens were an everyday part of life, because resources were scarce and were directed first to soldiers overseas, forcing those at home to be more self-sufficient

Now in its fourth year, certified volunteer instructors from the UC/Cooperative Extension LA County Master Gardener program will empower people once again to “grow their own” with its Grow LA Victory Gardens Initiative.

This series offers 23 four-week, low-cost classes in Fall Gardening Basics throughout Los Angeles County.

Three unique settings for Westside students, including the newly established Emerson Avenue Community Garden in Westchester, are planned.

Beginning September 7, Mar Vista/Venice Master Gardeners Julie Strnad and Marlena Ross will offer up their home garden and orchard lessons in soils, seed starting, transplanting, composting basics, pest management, container gardening, companion planting, harvesting and more.

Strnad’s well-established backyard garden features raised beds and in-ground growing, with a bounty of produce and fruit. Ross, who manages two home orchards, was recently featured in “Edible Westside” with her collections of tropical, exotic trees and fruits.

Mar Vista classes are on Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm, September 7th, 14th, 21st (2 to 5 pm) and 28th. Addresses will be provided upon paid registration. Classes can be taken as a series ($55) or individually ($15/per class). Contact j@atombrain.com or call 310.398.3494.

Beginning September 8, the much beloved Learning Garden on the grounds of Venice High School serves as the setting.

Aspiring growers will be inspired by the Chinese medicine garden and the numerous individual garden plots tended by members of UCLA’s Horticultural Program and Venice High School students. Gardenmaster David King, who is also founder of SLOLA: The Seed Library of Los Angeles based at The Learning Garden, offers a lifetime of farm and gardening experience along with in-depth perspectives on the importance of seed independence.

Venice classes take place at The Learning Garden on Sundays from 1:30-4:30 pm, September 8th, 15th, 22 and 29. To register call 310.397.5723 or email grandy133@verizon.net. $75 for the series or $20 per class.

And the newly formed Emerson Avenue Community Garden in Westchester will play host to classes beginning on September 29. This is a great opportunity to learn, literally, from the ground up with basics that will last through a lifetime of gardening.

Call 310.702.6653 or email danah.morgan@gmail.com. The cost is $75 for the series ($40 if annual household income is below $20,000) or $20 per class. Inquire about scholarships for very low income residents.

In November another series of classes will be taught at Culver City High School.

Details here: http://celosangeles.ucdavis.edu/Common_Ground_Garden_Program/Grow_LA_Victory_Garden_Initiative_Classes

UC Cooperative Extension’s “Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative” aims to help new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, a backyard or at a community garden, bringing together local families and neighbors to share their experiences, skills and produce. 

Participants will be able to turn this new interest in gardening into successful, productive gardens that will generate positive changes in their homes by helping to lower grocery bills and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods.

“Everyone who is interested in growing some of their own food can help their families eat better—and have fun doing it,” says Yvonne Savio, Common Ground Garden program manager.

“Sharing your experiences and extra produce is a great way to connect with your neighbors,” she added.

For general information on the initiative, contact Yvonne Savio, Common Ground Garden program manager, at 323.260.3407 or ydsavio@ucanr.edu.

Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.