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LAUSD Board of Education Votes to Approve State of the Art Community Clinic and Garden at Fremont High School

News Release
For Immediate Release                                                                 April 13, 2010
Contact: Shannon Haber
213.241.4575                                                                                    

(Los Angeles, CA) – The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the Fremont High School Wellness Center and Sustainable Food Project.  The project is a one and half acre community clinic, garden and urban farming site that will provide educational programming; job training opportunities; healthy food for students and community members; and serve as a service learning area for the 4,600 students attending Fremont High School.   

“I am delighted about the educational possibilities on the horizon for our students and community members as a result of this project,” LAUSD Board Member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte said.  “This effort will go a long way in addressing the health disparities and the lack of information on proper nutrition that exists within communities like this one.  This project will not only provide inviting, outdoor classroom and green space, but will also benefit the entire community through job training opportunities, which will result in employment for community residents.  I am grateful to the partners for teaming with LAUSD to create such a magnificent opportunity for our students and community members.” 

The LAUSD and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust (Land Trust), a non-profit organization whose mission is to create parks and community gardens in low-income neighborhoods, are partnering with the University Muslim Medical Association (UMMA) to revitalize an area that has been underutilized for many years.  

The Fremont High School Wellness Center will provide free or reduced-rate medical, behavioral and dental services to the students, staff and surrounding community.  The Sustainable Food Project will generate sustainable job opportunities for small scale farming businesses that will provide food for the students and community.  The project will also incorporate a multi-use greenhouse area that will serve as an indoor classroom space, a community gathering area, and a farmer’s market area.  The development of this project has also resulted in the creation of a Small Learning Community at Fremont High School focused on medicine and agriculture.

“The epidemic rates of childhood obesity are linked to unhealthy environments that limit access to fresh, nutritious food and safe spaces to engage in physical activity,” Land Trust Executive Director Alina Bokde said.  “The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust is proud to partner with UMMA and LAUSD to create a project that will directly address pervasive park and open space disparities experienced in Los Angeles low-income communities like the neighborhoods surrounding Fremont High School.”

“We are excited about our partnership with the Land Trust and LAUSD and are committed to working with students, faculty and the community to significantly impact the lives of those who deserve a space to be healthy and reconnect with a green environment,” UMMA President and CEO Yasser Aman said.

The total cost of the project is $3.4 million.  The project will be completed by the end of 2011. LAUSD will leverage bond dollars with a $500,000 local grant and more than $500,000 for personnel, programming, and material costs from the Land Trust.  

The Wellness Center project has been planned by LAUSD’S Facilities Services Division and Student Health and Human Services staff in an effort to implement the District-endorsed Health Care Master Plan presented to the Board of Education on January 27, 2009.  The Sustainable Food Project has been planned in response to the “Create School-Community Parks in Partnership with Community Groups and the City of Los Angeles” resolution adopted by the Board of Education on February 26, 2008.  The intent of this District policy is to create community parks and gardens on school campuses to increase access to open space, create a safe haven and address health issues related to obesity, diabetes and poor nutrition. 

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