Rolling Hills Prep has gone green using lasagna! Did you know that the state of California grows approximately seventy percent of the produce for the United States? Rolling Hills Prep knows this and decided that they wanted to find ways of growing food using less water and more environmentally sound practices.
Located in a Mediterranean climate in San Pedro, California, RHP has experienced droughts throughout their history so they decided to start a garden that uses less water. Their eighth and ninth grade students work in the garden during the school year and they run an extensive community service program during the summer for all students to participate.
They came up with an idea to incorporate a gardening technique practiced in Australia called “layering” or “lasagna” and also use their four pillars of their school’s mission, Disciplined Minds, Sound Character, Healthy Bodies and Creative Spirits.
- Disciplined Minds – They expanded the garden using all recycled materials, which saves water and uses sustainable agricultural practices.
- Sound Character- This guides them to reduce their carbon footprint by using all recycled materials, eating locally, and saving our natural resources.
- Healthy bodies – Eating from the farm and not the factory is a way of protecting health. Their garden is all organic and free of pesticides.
- Creative Spirits – They designed a garden on the upper campus near water, and built the edges out of straw bales. Designing the space in this manner draws attention to their garden and creates interest in the growing cycle.
They started with six straw bales to outline the garden and contain all their recycled materials within the designated area. The start of the school year always brings a small mountain of cardboard boxes used for shipping books, Smartboards and computers. The cardboard was their first layer.
RHP’s football and soccer field is covered in grass and is mowed every week. They used a collection of the waste for the second layer. The field’s grass clippings have been used in the school’s organic garden for two years.
They have created their own compost, and used the decayed material for the third layer. Growth rate and water usage are documented weekly.
These green efforts show how they can generate an environment of growing organic food using items that generally pack landfills. Feeding the world and protecting our health and the environment are challenges for future generations that Rolling Hills Prep are meeting head on. Great job!