Second graders are getting special behind-the-scenes access to nurseries and other areas of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens this spring, thanks to a unique partnership between the Huntington and the district’s Farm to School program.
The field trips focus on the seed-to-table cycle connected to the district’s garden curriculum. Students visit the orchards, nurseries, raised beds, and ranch areas of the Botanical Gardens, which are usually off-limits to visitors. The field trips bring to life classroom lessons on plant life cycles and the cultivation and harvesting of food. Students learn about edible gardens, herbs, orchards, and the connection between the land and farming.
“Children get hands-on experience with plants and the importance of agriculture while exploring the history, math, art, science, and health themes that are abundantly available at the Huntington,” said Ann Rector, PUSD Director of Health Programs. “By participating in these field trips, PUSD students gain a sense of their own community’s food system, healthy eating, and exposure to the rich cultural heritage of Pasadena. Our partnership with the Huntington leverages our combined resources so that the children of PUSD get unique experiences that prepare them to be healthy, contributing members of society.”
The field trips were initiated by Adele Binder of the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy (PCSC) as part of the nonprofit foundation's support of Pasadena Unified school gardens and the district’s Master Gardener Jill McArthur. Tours are guided by community volunteers, including parents, volunteers from Young & Healthy, and PCSC, who are trained in curriculum created especially for PUSD field trips by the Huntington
“The mission of The Huntington’s education division is to interpret the collections and promote lifelong learning to a broad audience,” said Dr. Catherine Allgor, Nadine and Robert A. Skotheim Director of Education at The Huntington. “By visiting the Huntington through the Farm to School program, students will be able to engage with our botanical collections while exercising skills that will enrich their school curriculum.”
PUSD’s Farm-to-School program includes 17 active school gardens -- and growing, thanks to a school garden initiative generously supported by the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy and other partners. The program builds healthy eating and fitness habits early in life. The K-5 curriculum includes the fundamentals of growing a garden and preparing healthy recipes using fresh produce grown in local gardens and farms. Pasadena Unified is one of 60 California school districts committed to developing local supply chains with local farmers and producers.
About Huntington Gardens
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found at huntington.org