{school garden} VOTE for @MuirRanch and Help Shape the Future of Los Angeles

Muir Ranch in Pasadena, California is an urban farm taking up 2 acres of John Muir High School

If I told you about a fabulous farm in sunny southern California, growing fresh flowers, vegetables and fruits and even delivers a CSA and provides food for school cafeteria lunches, what do you imagine? Happy farmers working the land, enjoying the sun and proud of the bounty they have sowed?

I first started to learn about Mud Baron on Twitter (@cocoxochitl). I don’t even remember how I came to follow him. However, the more I followed his tweets, the more I learned that this dude was working in some kind of farm in California. That was the extent of what I knew.

Over time, I learned that he was actually working with kids at an urban farm, transforming an inner city school, John Muir High School, into a 2 acre farm and serving this fresh grown food in school cafeteria lunches. Brilliant! Mud’s relentless evangelism about the importance of school gardens and teaching the future generation how to grow their own food is truly infectious and inspiring. Muir Ranch is not only transforming the way kids eat and view farming, it has also transformed their lives.

Mud Baron is highly respected in many aspects of the food (and education) world. Always pushing to help inner city kids to find a great outlet and passion through gardening, always telling the great stories of the farm’s everyday finds through photos on Instragram, and always working hard to make sure Muir Ranch is funded to continue it’s programs and continue to…well, grow.

The Goldhirsch Foundation is spearheading LA2050, looking at key indicators and asking people and organizations how their ideas can shape a better future for Los Angeles. With a $100,000 grant to the winning idea, you can bet that Mud Baron and Muir Ranch have placed their bid to be in the running and to win this reward.

With 279 submissions so far and voting closing on April 17th at 12:00 p.m. Pacific, I’m asking you to help my friends at Muir Ranch win this much needed money for their farm!



My students have iPods and don’t wear county ankle bracelets any more. Alondra, Jacqui, Perla and Lali, all 15-18 year-old students, help manage a 6-figure start up: schedule, distribution and payroll. They steal all the customers champagne grapes during the season. The business part of me cringes. The teacher says, “go ahead, eat them. they’re good for you and the customers don’t know they were in the CSA anyway.” My kids know how to grow a “green zebra” tomato. We won this year’s “Green Curriculum” award from the Green School Summit. We don’t have an actual curriculum. We do have an actual business. As an employer what matters to you??? Not a single case of food-born illness to date. Knock wood. Clean hands. We haven’t missed a single CSA distribution since launch. Consistency. 50 Low-income families receive free CSA boxes thanks to the Pasadena Children’s Health Foundation. The wait list for other familes is 2-3 times this. We have been approved by the USDA for SNAP electronic payments. We host the LA County Master Gardeners, the largest food justice group in Los Angeles, as of this year. The LA County Master Food Preservers are not far behind. Amongst Whole Foods’ Whole Kids Foundation’s 2,000 plus school garden grantees our grant was 5 times the average amount and the only one given in the country as a social enterprise business. The kids are invited to Austin, Texas in 2014 for the national corporate meeting. We’ve brought on chef Ernie Miller of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market to teach in our semi-endowed “Julia Child Culinary Chair” as the kids learn to cook chard, kale, lentils and shiso. Yes, shiso. Our second long table dinner at Muir Ranch with chef Matthew Poley of Heirloom LA in April 14. Come eat.


The teens of Muir Ranch about to enjoy a fabulous Farm to Table dinner.

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