Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Loofahs, fruit trees and plenty of learning in Pasadena schools

Students harvesting loofahs in the Pasadena Unified School District

From CDFA’s Farm to School program

Working alongside second grade students, teacher Stacey Torres and Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Master Gardener Jill McArthur developed a producer to consumer educational unit that connects plant biology, fractions, fundraising, the school garden, and a new school orchard.

After a year growing and drying loofahs in the PUSD school garden, the second graders harvested, de-seeded, and transformed over 70 of the overgrown fruits into sponges for a fundraiser. During the processing phase, students pulled over 7,000 seeds from the dried fruits, becoming intimately familiar with the plant’s structure and functions, and discussed the many uses of the loofah as a food and skin-care product.

Once processed, each second grader sold two bags of loofah sponges, and together they used the proceeds to purchase 10 peach and nectarine trees to start their school orchard! This project is a perfect example of the way school gardens and educators create opportunities for cross-cutting educational lessons for students who are empowered, engaged, and excited about learning.

Click here to read the full story from the Pasadena Educational Foundation.

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