Our friends from Studio One Eleven have just broken ground on Long Beach’s newest urban farm. The design is an extension of the New City School, a charter campus within the Long Beach Unified School District, that will teach children important lessons about the environment and nutrition.”The need to grow locally, provide affordable organic foods, and reconnect people to the land is an issue we are very passionate about at Studio One Eleven. All of our projects…represent our interest in improving the natural and built environment while creating a better community,” explained Michael Bohn, principal of the firm.
More images and more about the urban farm after the break.
Working with landscape architect David Sabunas, the team designed large outdoor rooms where students study an array of subjects. Whether the children are pondering math problems, or memorizing biology terms, or discussing different conservation ideas, each subject can be enhanced by “garden-based learning”, a hands-on experience using nature as an educational tool. Defined zones have been created to suit different activities – there’s even a place to prepare and cook food, and a dining room to share a meal with one another.
The program also includes a flower and vegetable garden, orchard, farm stand, green house, and a chicken coop. Photovoltaic panels arranged in the shape of an oversized flower generate 90 watts continuously for the farm and two shipping container were repurposed to provide the shell for a produce market. The children will even perform farm related tasks such as sowing seeds, monitoring growth, harvesting crops and composting all waste material. Many of the children come from low-income families and do not have access to high quality food, so the farm allows the children to not only see where their food comes from by watching the plants and the animals, but the farm also promotes healthy dietary decisions.
“The farm provides students with access to fresh, healthy locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as an opportunity for fun and physical activity. In an area lined with fast food restaurants and convenience stores, the majority of students eat their healthiest and sometimes only meal of the day at school. The farm provides the opportunity to help kids make healthy choices at school and at home. Ultimately, good health is necessary for student success,” explained Bohn.
We think it is great that Bohn has designed an outdoor pocket to expose children to greenery they otherwise would not get to experience. And, the fact that the outdoors is tied so closely to education instills important values in children at a young age. If our youngest generation can benefit from and see the value of having a relationship with nature, we are definitely heading in the right direction.
The farm will be all set for the start of the 2010 school year.