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LAFC Foundation Partners with the American Heart Association's 'Teaching Gardens' Nutrition Program

November 5, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles FC News Release

The Los Angeles Football Club Foundation announced today a partnership with the American Heart Association that will bring their Teaching Gardens program to south Los Angeles. The educational program serves as a real-life laboratory to teach children nutrition, language arts, science, social studies and mathematics, all through the art of urban gardening. Students learn to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of healthy eating habits. Through the partnership, LAFC joins the American Heart Association and presenting sponsor, Califia Farms, in empowering students to become champions of change and promote healthier lifestyles to their families and school communities.

"We are proud to partner with the American Heart Association and Califia Farms to bring a Teaching Garden to John Muir Middle School," said LAFC Foundation Executive Director Alina Beruff. "The Teaching Gardens project demonstrates our collective mission to empower and inspire youth in the community. We're excited to bring the Black & Gold spirit to John Muir Middle School as we continue our mission to be a force for good in Los Angeles."

In the first event of the partnership, the LAFC Foundation and Club Partner, Califia Farms revitalized a student garden at John Muir Middle School in South Los Angeles. The kickoff event, which took place in September, served as the first opportunity for students to work in the refurbished school garden. Students spent the day weeding, watering, turning soil and plant vegetable seedlings. Following the garden work, the Club invited students to take part in a Black & Gold themed soccer activity, directed by LAFC personnel. The afternoon wrapped with healthy snacks provided by Califia Farms and a discussion on the importance of nutrition.

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, LAFC will return to John Muir Middle School's Teaching Garden to construct the four final garden beds and plant California native plants for the harvest season. The Club will also bring LAFC Foundation's Falcon Scholars Program, a Raptor education program that teaches the history of falconry, the physiology of birds of prey, the importance of sustainability, and a look into the amazing lives of these native Los Angelino raptors and their critical role in our urban community.

The LAFC Foundation covers all costs associated with the rebuilding and refreshing of the Teaching Garden including construction, fencing, seeds, soil, and composting, as well as educational kits, annual curriculum to integrate into classrooms and staff to support onsite teachers throughout the academic year. The first semester will include outdoor garden-themed lessons in the subjects of nutrition, math, science while semester two will feature harvesting and financial literacy themed lessons including entrepreneurial and leadership skills. The Foundation will continue to fund garden refresh efforts for up to five years after the initial build.

Teaching Gardens address the healthy eating challenges that are facing our nation's children and families by supporting school and community gardens. This successful approach to engaging youth makes healthy foods fun, and provides opportunities for children to not only grow, but understand and enjoy the benefit of eating healthy foods. Over the last decade, the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens program has launched over 500 Teaching Gardens nationwide.

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