LAGUNA BEACH, CA — Laguna Beach Unified School District has completed construction on a greenhouse at Top of the World Elementary that will in time become a place for students to learn first-hand about sustainability concepts and will also provide fresh produce for the Laguna Beach Food Pantry, launching the Giving Garden Food Program.
The Top of the World PTA presented the idea for the greenhouse and the Giving Garden Food Program when they decided to apply to the Seeds of Change Grant Program, an annual initiative funded by one percent of Seeds of Change net sales as a part of the brand’s commitment to helping create healthier and greener communities. The idea was for the greenhouse to provide a space where students could become more involved in the seed handling process, increasing the yield and therefore the garden’s contributions to the Laguna Beach Food Pantry.
A public voting process declared the Giving Garden Food Program the second-place winner, securing a $10,000 grant that was matched by Top of the World PTA, resulting in a $20,000 budget for the project.
“Top of the World Elementary is excited to add the greenhouse to our upper-grade garden. This will enhance the outdoor classroom allowing us to make further connections to the standards, as well as have the ability to produce even more food that we can donate to the local community,” said Michael Conlon, principal at Top of the World. He added, “Kudos to the PTA for securing this grant and to Ryan Zajda, director of facilities, for his coordination of this project.”
Members of the PTA worked with the District to select a greenhouse and prepare the site for installation. They selected a geodesic dome greenhouse designed by Growing Spaces® for year-round gardening. The design includes a solar-powered central air system, an above ground pond, and automatic vents that will keep heating costs low.
The greenhouse will be a space for students to learn and understand how living organisms within an ecosystem interact to be self-sustainable. The above ground pond will eventually feature koi fish and water plants that will help keep the greenhouse humid, in addition to providing nutrient-rich water that will be used for planting.
Printed in the Laguna Beach Patch