Espiritu Schools was established by a group of faith-based leaders to help renew communities by forming new servant leaders to rebuild their own communities through community service projects. The “Servant Leadership” model was developed into an educational system. The primary purpose of a servant leader is to assist a community in developing a strong moral and value-based code of ethics which forms the foundation from which various projects are planned and launched into service to others. The four essential components are:
- Build spirit and values (virtues)
- Build knowledge and intellect (education)
- Build Servant Leadership (Productive leadership through service)
- Build new infrastructure; schools, affordable housing, and self-sustaining projects.
A charter school was then built around these components and provides a unique educational leadership.
Adding more to a Developing Farm
Urban Farming Education has already established the Ready-Go-Garden kits onsite and it has been quite successful. Now we would like to develop this site further making it into an urban farm by adding more kits, rose bushes, a vineyard and fruit trees. Developing this site further will continue to help students learn to eat nutritiously and how food grows. By integrating this into their education they will learn math, reading and writing skills. They will also make this site into a real laboratory with activities that are focused on around the workings of the garden and hopefully springboards them into other discovery in science. They will have the opportunity to test their skills scientifically in a real-world environment.
How the Farm will Continue to Help the Children
The goal is to bring all these individual entities together in a cohesive effort to actively engage community members in all aspects of the food systems so that they can better understand how it works and become comfortable with eating in a more beneficial, long term manner. The process will allow individuals to experience first had how a seed germinates then becomes a sprout turning into a plant with an edible component so that it can be prepared in an enticing manner, consumed so as to eventually improve one’s vigor and health.
The process of learning how the food is grown, is harvested, transported, prepared and served is the intent of this program. This will be accomplished by teaching hands on agricultural practices, access to good nutritional habits, how to safely handle raw foods, learning about various food preparation methods, and exposure to “other” foods outside of the usual cultural context.
On a weekly basis individuals will begin their journey of the seed to the stomach. Culturally iconic food item (peppers) will be cultivated along with an “outsider” crop (fennel); both have been proven to grow well at the farm. Soil preparation, seed selection, planting methods, water requirements, plant nutrition, and pest control will constitute the “lessons” in first phase of the program. Participants “lessons” will not be in a classroom setting but by physically going through the process. Groups of participants will be coupled with subject matter expert during each phase of the growing cycle/harvesting/preparation period. Once planted are growing, participants will become versed in the nutritional value of what is being grown, the plants’ historical uses, and proper handling ae well as harvesting methods. Once harvest time arrives, the skills acquired during the grow out phase will be put into practice by harvesting, processing and cooking of the produce. A culminating event with local community members invited will be held where the participants will demonstrate their knowledge gained then serve their prepared food items they have grown so others can experience the vitality of fresh, locally grown food. The idea is to have participants become food aficionados first to members of their own family’s but then to other members of the community. This has proven successful in the past but on a limited scale. Green on Purpose worked with Middle Schools students from Espiritu Schools in a similar methodology. This program seeks for expand the scope of putting forth the such food knowledge to the community directly.
The infrastructure is present and available:
- demonstration farm
- tools & equipment
- processing area
- event/dining area
We are seeking funds to help support this program in the following ways:
- Soil Amendments
- Water costs
- Marketing & Promotion
- Food Preparation
- Final Event (will repeat cycle twice per year)