March 30, 2012
It was a day for fruits, vegetables and healthy grub Saturday during a Los Angeles-wide Good Food Day of Service. | See photo gallery.
Among the 30 or so chosen locations for the event was Emerson Avenue Community Garden at Orville Wright Middle School in Westchester, where dozens of volunteers nurtured gardens and tended to rows of peas, strawberries, kale and lettuce.
When ready, the plants will be harvested and eaten by students and community members.
The party atmosphere was repeated throughout the city.
The event, presented by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Angeles Food Policy Council, focused “on building a more just and sustainable food system” – in a region containing some of the highest rates of obesity in the state.
Healthy revelers at an event in Sylmar began with a 5K run in heavy drizzle, then took to more than two dozen booths around the track.
Young kids got their faces painted while older boys and girls hula hooped and teenagers demonstrated football on the field.
At Meet Each Need with Dignity, volunteers added bell peppers, parsnips and turnips to the mix.
“Fruits and vegetables,” admonished Roberta Acantilado, project director for the Network for a Healthy California-LAUSD, whose booth handed out “Healthy Latino Recipes” and other guides.
“And for breakfast,
a bowl of oatmeal, lots of grain. No butter. Just lots of fruits.”
Wendee Pizano, the chef founder of Guayaba Kitchen, a nonprofit cooking collective, was thrilled to pick up six nameless tomato seedlings.
“To-mate-oes. To-maht-oes. I’m excited, excited,” said Pizano, 30. “Some salsa, I make tomato jam. It is the season. Now is the time.”
Others agreed it was the moment to grab a garden hoe or patio trowel.
“When you get (produce) at the market, a lot of times it’s terrible,” said Albert Chang, of the Southern California Garden Club.
“But when you grow it yourself, it tastes great, you know what’s in it, and you get all the fruits of your labor.”
At the Emerson garden, plans include 38 plots to be used by families and members of the community. Also on deck are trees for a mini-orchard, an outdoor circular seating area and a walking path.