Kevin Cody

BCHD volunteers helped help tend Redondo, Hermosa school gardens

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by David Mendez

More than 100 volunteers from around the Beach Cities turned out to support Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach school gardens on Thursday for the Beach Cities Health District Volunteer Day. Beginning early in the morning with a few light exercises at Alta Vista Park, the crowd then dispersed to get to work perfecting the LiveWell Kids gardens at Redondo Beach’s eight elementary schools, as well as Hermosa View Elementary School.

The annual tradition prepares the gardens for students to work during the going school year, as they learn about plant growth and, and harvesting their plants.

“There’s hardcore science going on,” said Kerianne Lawson, BCHD’s Director of Lifespan Services.

When the plants are grown, the kids have an opportunity to try what they’ve been tending…

“Tomatoes taste different when they come from the garden,” Lawson said. “Kids are more willing to taste it because they grew it…and then, later on in the store with their parents, they’ll see something they’ve planted before and be willing to try it again.”

The garden program started in 2007 and the LiveWell Kids program has been in existence since 2005. It was created in response to Redondo Beach’s high rates of childhood obesity, which were then reported to affect 20 percent of elementary school-age children. Last year, Redondo’s childhood obesity rates were reported to have dropped to just 7.2 percent of that population.

Year-round work on the gardens come from local retirees, known as Garden Angels, and parent docents, who help teach lessons to the children.

Monica Reasor has been volunteering with the LiveWell Kids garden program for five years, starting when her children attended Hermosa View and continuing on after they began attending Alta Vista Elementary.

“I’m so happy to see this,” Reasor said of the day’s volunteers who were helping to remove overgrown crabgrass. “The kids are going to love it.”

For more information on BCHD’s LiveWell Kids program, including how to volunteer with the Health District, visit BCHD.org.

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