Continuing The Food Revolution At Ocean Knoll

Story by Dawn Mayeda
Ocean Knoll Elementary is setting the bar for health-oriented programs. Since the Food Revolution featured this school a year and a half ago, even more great things are happening.

During the 2011-12 school year, the Sage Garden Project provided for the installation of a nutritional science lab, which has two of most everything you would expect to find in a home kitchen, plus a 3-part sink outside for washing garden produce before it enters the lab. Students come for classes in the lab once every two weeks, alternating with bi-weekly sessions in the garden.
The program has been so popular that some students can’t get enough! A summer camp was initiated in 2012, which helped with summertime garden maintenance and six high school students joined us as counselors. It was wonderful to see them grow throughout this experience.

Campers tended the garden first thing in the mornings, then prepared a themed lunch from a particular part of the world, and served themselves along with 20 additional children to a proper, sit-down lunch with china, silverware, cloth napkins and lovely manners. They cleaned up together, and then spent the afternoon playing raucous games outdoors. It is great to see the garden utilized so well, right when it is at its peak.

Weekly Garden Science and Nutrition Classes

This school year, the program has been ramped up to allow every upper-grade student to have both garden science and nutritional science classes every week. Delivering a standards-based, science and health-driven curriculum in a hands-on lab format allows us to deliver the program during the school day. While the students are in the garden and nutritional science lab, the grade-level teachers are given time to meet and plan together. This hands-on experiential learning can’t help but edify their in-class studies.

Using a combination of existing curriculum materials and creative, original lessons, the Sage Garden Project format focuses on the students making connections. For example, on a day when they plant carrot seeds, and cover them with hot water to promote growth, they augment the lesson in the nutrition lab by studying the states of water as they make tea – experiencing the whistling tea kettle caused by steam, then cooling their tea with an ice cube, another form of water. A carrot muffin completes the connection.

The garden has benefited from the construction of additional raised beds – more than quadrupling the growing area to approximately 3750 sq ft. From the basic framework of plumbing, the students actually installed the irrigation lines during their classes at the beginning of the school year.

Our harvests have already been so plentiful that we have been able to take loads of produce over to the local food bank, which is just a walk away, on the same block as the school. Our lessons in the nutrition lab use the produce we grow, and when we have a large crop, our school district food services will pick it up, and serve it the following day on our salad bar at school lunch.

First Steps Towards A School Farm

The school district has given approval to the development of an adjacent acre of land for a farm, and the first steps are being taken currently to make that happen. Community grants have been secured, and digging for irrigation lines has begun. Work days are scheduled, and we’ll need to update the Revolution family in the future about our progress in this venture.

Even with all this progress, the changes we get really excited about are the small ones. One student who decides to request a smoothie party instead of cupcakes for his birthday. One who has an “aha” moment, and can choose plain popcorn instead of chips. One who takes a recipe home, and makes squash enchiladas for the family. We are celebrating change, and delighting in watching it happen.

About the author: Dawn Mayeda is the program director of Sage Garden Project.

Photographs by Sage G. Dunne-Cerami.

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (501c3) is a California based non-profit organization.

[fusion_builder_container menu_anchor=”” backgroundcolor=”#fef3d9″ backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”solid” paddingtop=”10px” paddingbottom=”10px” paddingleft=”20px” paddingright=”20px” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row]Clarification: Continuing The Food Revolution at Ocean Knoll story
In the above story, published Wed 07 Nov 2012 about Ocean Knoll Elementary School, the article presented incomplete information under the heading ‘First Steps Toward a New Farm’. The story should have noted that the school is working with the nonprofit Healthy Day Partners to develop this one acre community-supported, educational far, in cooperation with Jimbo’s… Naturally and the Encintas Union School District. To learn more about this project visit The author regrets the misunderstanding.