If an Ocean Knoll Elementary student opts for a side salad in the cafeteria line, there’s a good chance he helped grow some of the greens in it. That’s because the Encinitas school is home to a one-acre organic farm where students help grow produce for the district’s lunch program. The educational farm provides kids with a hands-on lesson in good nutrition, and soon, it will also teach them about global stewardship.
Students are creating a greenhouse for the farm that will be made of plastic bottles—a project that’s being done in collaboration with Hug It Forward, a group that builds schools in Latin America using the same eco-friendly construction technique. The Solana Beach Eco Rotary got the ball rolling on this effort several months ago, and since then, students have also launched a fundraising campaign to help Hug It Forward build a school in Guatemala.
The Encinitas community is now being asked to help the Ocean Knoll children by donating plastic water bottles. If you’d like to contribute, you can drop off plastic water bottles to Ocean Knoll’s back parking lot on Tuesdays from now until June.
“We believe that everyone deserves a healthy day and it takes a community to make it happen,” said Mim Michelove of Healthy Day Partners, the nonprofit responsible for initiating and managing the farm effort for the school district.
Though the Ocean Knoll farm is less than a year old, its educational potential continues to bloom. It will soon become a hub for the Global Seed Saving Project, which works preserve crops that are on the verge of extinction. Indigenous groups from around the world contribute rare seeds, and Ocean Knoll students will get to grow and harvest them.
“Encinitas Union School District is a regional leader in promoting student wellness and environmental education—and the farm at Ocean Knoll is one of many projects that illustrates this commitment," said Angelica Lopez, Ocean Knoll Principal.
Ocean Knoll is located at 910 Melba Road. Volunteers are welcome at the school farm every Friday from 12:45 to 2 p.m. For more information about any of these projects—of if you’d like to donate any funds or farming supplies—you can send an email to email@example.com.