The Johnson Ohana Foundation has awarded Santa Barbara nonprofit Explore Ecology a $10,000 donation for general support of its School Gardens Program.
The Johnson Ohana Foundation was founded by musician Jack Johnson and his wife Kim to support environmental, art and music education. Over the last decade, the Johnson Ohana Foundation has directed some $135,000 in grants to support Explore Ecology’s school garden and watershed education programs.
"We are beyond thrilled to receive this generous donation from the Johnson Ohana Foundation," said Lindsay Johnson, Explore Ecology‘s executive director.
Their support of Explore Ecology programs over the past 10 years helps us continue our important work of educating Santa Barbara County youth about food literacy, organic gardening, composting, and healthy food,” she said.
"We thank Johnson Ohana on behalf of Explore Ecology and all of the students and families whose lives are positively impacted by school gardens," she said.
Explore Ecology's School Gardens Program is thriving and producing abundant food, even in the pandemic. Explore Ecology Garden educators have been working to bring the school garden experience to homebound students via virtual lessons and garden tours, at-home DIY projects for kids and families, and Pop Up Harvest Day Markets.
Explore Ecology staff have created online content for teachers and students on topics ranging from red wiggler worms to how to go on a plant walk. They’ve set up projects like Grab and Go Garden Kits with video instructions on how to start seeds. They are also maintaining gardens and harvesting a lot of fresh produce.
Garden educators have made some of the produce available to families for free by holding pop-up markets at several Santa Barbara County schools.
A table at Monroe Elementary, set up on a recent morning, was filled with fresh organic produce including kale, chard, cabbage, fennel, fava beans and herbs. Families practicing safe physical distancing picked up the veggies and took them home to enjoy. The table was bare within 45 minutes.
Explore Ecology is inspiring children to stay connected to their school gardens, eat their vegetables, and spend time in nature. In elementary schools throughout Santa Barbara County, garden educators teach kids how to grow food.
Using the garden as an outdoor classroom, students learn about planting, cultivating, harvesting, composting and nutrition. Students in the School Gardens Program grow organic vegetables, and healthy bodies.
Research shows that children who grow their own food tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, have a greater understanding of ecology, and receive higher test scores in science.
Explore Ecology is an environmental education and arts nonprofit that educates 38,000 children a year. Explore Ecology programs include the Art From Scrap Creative ReUse Store and Gallery, Watershed Resource Center, and School Gardens Program. For more, visit ExploreEcology.org.
Most recently, the Johnson Ohana Foundation has supported environmental art projects that integrate the main funding themes of sustainable local food and plastic-free initiatives.
On October 5th, the Surfrider Foundation hosted our most successful One Ocean event to date to support clean water and healthy beaches. Honoring 'Women Making Waves' and coastal activist, Kim Johnson, founder of the Kōkua Hawai'i Foundation and the Johnson Ohana Foundation, the One Ocean benefit was the second of two annual bicoastal fundraisers to protect the ocean, waves and beaches for the future.
The Surfrider Foundation extends gratitude to the generous sponsors, in-kind and auction donors, and all guests for supporting the protection of our ocean, waves and beaches for the future. Join us next year for Surfrider's One Ocean events!
The Edible Campus Student Farm gets official opening with Kim and Jack Johnson
Photo Credit: MATT PERKO
From the seed of an idea, to seeds in the ground and now, to an actual harvest.
Seven months after the first garden beds were built and planted, the Edible Campus Student Farm at UC Santa Barbara is officially open, growing and providing fresh local produce for students. This milestone for the university’s efforts in sustainability and food security was marked by a ceremony featuring Chancellor Henry T. Yang and prominent alumni Kim and Jack Johnson, supporters of the project from the beginning.
“What’s so great about the student farm and what is growing here is what we’ve been doing in Hawaii: connecting kids to where their food comes from,” Kim Johnson said at the event. “UCSB was the place that we first connected to where our food comes from. That’s why we’re so excited about this student farm. It’s really amazing to see what it is now and what it will be in the future.”
An inaugural workday at the 12,000 square-foot parcel last spring saw construction of six garden beds and the installation of irrigation; nine more were erected over the summer, with more on the way. Plans call for 32 raised beds altogether, plus a greenhouse, which is forthcoming later this fall.
All the planting to date — a mix of seasonable vegetables — has been done using compost and soil amendments direct from the Department of Public Worms (DPW), a composting collective run by Associated Students, which oversees daily operations of the new farm.
“It’s been so much fun to watch this farm develop and slowly come together,” Jack Johnson agreed. “It’s fun for us to come here and work some days and to see it evolving. There are so many big concepts in life we can learn from a garden. For me it’s a place where I can say, a lot of my songs were written after a day of gardening and observing things and watching change.”
The Johnsons have been partners and mentors on Edible Campus, a multifaceted food sustainability initiative, since its inception and, through their Johnson Ohana Foundation, devoted donors to the project.
“The Edible Campus Student Farm will play a vital role in our campus sustainability practices and in our role to address the food security and basic needs of our community,” Chancellor Yang said in thanking the Johnsons. “We are working to ensure that our students have access to healthy, sustainable foods.”
Once all three Edible Campus installations — the orange trees, the tower garden and now, the farm — are in full production mode, UC Santa Barbara hopes to double, from 25,000 pounds to 50,000 pounds, the amount of fresh produce distributed annually by the A.S. Food Bank.
Explore Ecology’s Edible Education Symposium Honors UCSB Alum