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El Monte Mayor Pro Tem Visits Arroyo High's Knights Garden

El Monte City Council & El Monte Union High School District Visit to Knights Garden at Arroyo High School
El Monte City Council & El Monte Union High School District Visit to Knights Garden at Arroyo High School

KCETLink Youth Voices is working with students from Arroyo High School to explore El Monte/South El Monte and the surrounding communities. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow the Knights Garden progress on social media via Instagram, Twitter, or by using the hashtag #kcetyv.

On the morning of April 30, Arroyo Highs' school garden was visited by Mr. Bart Patel, City of El Monte's Mayor Pro Tem. During his visit he was joined by El Monte Union High School District staff, including Martha Schirn, Grant Writer, and Dr. Sergio Flores, Assistant Superintendent. The motive of their visit was to learn how a group of dedicated students turned an unused dirt lot into the beginning to a school garden.

Initially the idea of a garden began as a brainstorming exercise led by KCET's Youth Voices staff, where they asked us to think about at a current social issue we could work to improve in our community. Everyone in our group felt it was important to look at urban agriculture, nutrition, and the lack of places we could buy fresh foods in our city. Guided by our adult mentors we set out to establish the Knights Garden and the Knights Garden Student Association (on-campus club) to support all of the garden's needs. In the past three months the club membership has grown from few to many, but the best news is that in early April we broke ground and the garden is on its way. This news attracted the attention of the El Monte City Council and the El Monte Union High School District.

El Monte City Council & El Monte Union High School District Visit to Knights Garden at Arroyo High Schoo
El Monte City Council & El Monte Union High School District Visit to Knights Garden at Arroyo High Schoo, by klxadm

The morning Mr. Patel and school district officials arrived, they first met with Mr. Daniels, our garden teacher advisor; our school's principal Mrs.Gonzalez, or as we like to call her "Mrs.G"; and Rubi Fregoso, KCET's Director of Education. After brief introductions, we headed to the garden to showcase the beginning stages of the Knights Garden. During their visit there was only one planting bed filled with young Tomato and Jalapeño plants.

As a group we explained our current accomplishments and future plans, such as expanding our growing club and the long term goal of establishing a high school student-led farmer's market at Arroyo High School. The best news that came out of Mr. Patel's visit was his expressed interest and potential support for our garden and student-led efforts. Also, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Flores explained that he would potentially include our garden in their Green Report to the Federal Department of Education, focusing on our outreach to the students on the importance of gardening education and establishing environmental programs in our school district.

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