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Monday, February 22, 2010 

Growing Organically the Seeds of Knowledge

A school in Carpinteria plants the seed to a wonderful and innovative organic "healthy food program" that takes root within the community...and hopefully elsewhere.

....The student’s garden is just one example of how Palmisano’s small plot of land has tendrils that reach beyond the fence. The school’s horticulture class comes out every couple of days to work in the gardens. Veterinary science students wheel their stable sweepings up to the compost piles each day. Most important, the produce from the garden travels across campus to the cafeteria, where it appears in the lunches served each day, and into the culinary classrooms where students use it in their recipes.

Cordeiro see the tendrils reaching far beyond even these relationships.

...Cordeiro sees the school’s organic garden as a small, but pivotal, component in a much larger game plan. He is directly responsible for educating Carpinteria public school students between the ages of 3 — the district has three pre-schools — and 18. But the studies are clear. The earlier you start with children’s education and diet, the better their chances are of living a healthy life, completing high school and going on to college.

And, the children cannot be considered in separation from their families.

“If the family is strained, then the student is strained,” Cordeiro said.

“The food aspect, where we’re focusing (with the garden and culinary programs now) now, has to get pushed back under the umbrella of wellness.”

....The Carpinteria organic garden is partly funded through the s’Cool Food Initiative, an undertaking of the Santa Barbara-based Orfalea Foundation, which was created by Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea and his wife, Natalie. According to foundation vice president Catherine Brozowski, Natalie Orfalea is the driving force behind the organizations.

...“This garden integrates our agricultural systems programs, our culinary programs, our cafeteria,” he said. “Orfalea helped us get gardens at our elementary schools. We just had the first farmers markets with produce from the schools.”- Noozhawk

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