April 3, 2016 | HCBF Garden Grant

The Foundation administers the Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund, established to mitigate the off-port impacts of port operations. POLAHS’ project will reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants; capture and filter particulate matter; and create shade for students and teachers.
Fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables will be planted throughout 1,400 sq. ft. behind classroom bungalows along 3rd Street. A raised bed aquaponics system, installed through a USC Sea Grant "Food for Thought" partnership, allows students to grow crops and fish together in a re-circulating environment. Cool! Flowering vines will be trellised to a new wrought iron fence, also funded by HCBF. Along with insulating the school against port-related noise, the fence will provide additional security for the POLAHS campus. As a cross-curricular effort, students from the Urban Farming Club; Marine Biology; AP Environmental Science; Special Education Life Skills; and Environmental Engineering Studies courses will maintain the garden year-round. Volunteerism will transform concrete into a natural gathering space.
Instructor Rachel Bruhnke:
“The garden, even in its infancy, has already created a hands-on, motivational experience for our students. Students have begun a "Compost Crew" and are actively working to build a school-wide composting program at POLAHS, which will reduce local landfill waste. Pictured below is one of our volunteers drilling the compost crates. Teachers and students come to visit, and the garden is attracting wonderful pollinators like humming birds, bees, and butterflies.
Last month we worked with EnrichLA, a non-profit that builds edible gardens in local schools, focusing on low-income and underserved neighborhoods. Together, we installed drip irrigation and learned mulching techniques. Our students got to work alongside volunteers from throughout Los Angeles. It helped them see that they are part of something larger happening across the City.
Through POLAHS’ new Horticulture summer course, we’ll focus on composting, fruit tree maintenance, and vegetable growing. Students will be led to internships, postsecondary academic programs, and even employment. The benefits of this project will last for years to come. We owe a tremendous THANK YOU to HCBF for making it possible!”