Garden / Nutrition

Over ten years ago, a group of parents came together to create a beautiful school garden and outdoor classroom at Julian Elementary. Since then the garden program has grown steadily, and students now have weekly garden classes during the day and after school. Our garden includes 20+ fruit trees, raised beds full of veggies, herbs, a native plant demonstration garden, hundreds of flowers, a wildlife habitat designation, a rainwater harvesting system, a gazebo, an outdoor cooking area, and a large handmade wooden table and benches that seats a full class. Our mission statement explains all of the good things that happen in school gardens.

  • We grow food. We promote good nutrition by planting, tending, harvesting and eating organic fruit, vegetables and herbs.
  • We grow citizens. We connect children to the natural world and create environmental stewards.
  • We grow character. We learn leadership, responsibility, and respect when we work in the garden.
  • We grow practical gardening skills. We learn the nuts and bolts of growing a garden.
  • We grow beauty. We enjoy our peaceful, beautiful garden as it relaxes our bodies, inspires our minds, and ignites our creativity and imagination.
  • We grow academics. We study biology, ecology and natural history in our garden classroom
  • We grow stories. We develop a “sense of place” as we build a garden that reflects who we are as individuals, as a school and as residents of Julian and the backcountry.
  • We grow community. We create positive relationships among students, staff, parents and neighbors when we work together.

The school district also participates in FoodCorps, a private/public AmeriCorps partnership that connects kids to healthy food in school. For the past three years, we have been fortunate to host a service member for an 11.5 month term of service. The service members works in three areas: teaching hands on lessons, promoting health school meals and helping to create a school wide culture of health. For example, by eating healthy snacks at recess, students can earn “taste bud tickets” to win a chance to eat lunch in the garden. This year's FoodCorps service member is Sammi Costa—a longstanding school volunteer, mother of four and member of the Julian community.

Each year, the Julian Union Elementary School District celebrates Food Day. A variety of agencies throughout the county participate in this annual event. The entire day is dedicated to fun, interactive workshops demonstrating farming techniques, good nutrition and environmental health. Students learn about apple cider production, composting, recycling and more!