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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Government Officials and Watts Rising Collaborative Gather for Press Conference at Markham Middle School, the New Watts Healing Tech Garden Site
Los Angeles, CA- February 1, 2018— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti hosted a press conference February 1, 2018 announcing the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) $35 million grant awarded to the Watts Rising Collaborative for the Transformative Climate Communities program. Community Healing Gardens (CHG), in partnership with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), announced funding for the new Watts Healing Tech Garden as part of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) led initiative. The press conference took place at the site of the new Watts Healing Tech Garden, located at Edwin Markham Middle School (1650 E. 104th Street, LA).
The Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program funds development and infrastructure projects that achieve major environmental, health, and economic benefits in California’s most disadvantaged communities. In celebration, Watts Rising Collaborative hosted a ceremonial tree planting to mark the beginning of the implementation phase of the grant in the community of Watts.
LACI has partnered with Community Healing Gardens to create a first-of-its-kind Community Healing Tech Garden in Watts featuring clean technology deployment, a community tree planting program, STEM education, new paths for green jobs and community engagement. The program provides a working model for Title 1 schools across the country and will feature demonstrations of LACI portfolio company technologies in the garden.
The Watts Healing Tech Garden has partnered with Tree People to plant a minimum 100 trees every two years in and around the community. In 2018 (the first full production year), the garden will also produce over 10,000 lbs. of fresh organically grown vegetables and fruits, with the potential to produce up to 20,000 lbs. a year. LACI clean technology solutions will be incorporated into the garden for students and members of the community to learn about irrigation technology, solar and energy storage systems, energy-efficient lighting, atmospheric water generation, and waste to energy conversion, among other cleantech solutions for water and energy efficiency and GHG reduction.
Additionally, in a partnership with Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), LACI portfolio company Green Commuter (a certified B Corp) will be activating its signature zero-emission vanpool and carsharing service at three new mobility hubs in Watts. As part of its winning formula, WLCAC and Green Commuter developed a plan that leverages the SGC’s investment by integrating workforce development and training opportunities for Watts residents into program operations.
“As we work to create an inclusive, green economy, LACI is proud to support our portfolio companies,Green Commuter and Pick My Solar, deliveringEV mobility and solar options to the residents of Watts,” said Matt Petersen, President and CEO of LACI. “Our partnership with Community Healing Gardens to educate students and residents about how we can grow healthy food more efficiently using our start-up technologies is another way we are engaging with disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles.”
Community Healing Garden’s mission, as part of Watts Rising, is to foster community through urban gardening. Born out of the passion of its Co-founder, Nicole Landers, CHG has had a significant impact already in Watts. It is the first and only urban tech garden housed on the campus of a local (LAUSD) school. School garden programs have proven benefits that transform lives and communities: better health, a cleaner environment, increased safety, improved academics, more community building and enhanced vocational opportunities.
“The beneficial impact of the projects awarded from this grant for the next generation will make them leaders in behavior change in their schools and homes, giving students the tools to be better stewards of the earth and their own futures,” states Nicole Landers, Co-founder of Community Healing Gardens.
As an implementation partner of LACI, Community Healing Gardens has been successful in unifying the local Watts community and building out a one acre urban garden at Markham Middle School. To date, the Healing Tech Garden has more than 300 middle school students including additional local youth ranging from 5-17 years old, hosted and partnered with 250+ volunteers, and grown and donated 5,000+ pounds of healthy greens, vegetables, fruits and herbs.
On September 14, 2016, California Governor Brown signed AB 2722 (Burke), which created the Transformative Climate Communities Program, a California Climate Investment grant program administered by the Strategic Growth Council. The Housing Authority played a significant role in the procurement of this grant and believes that Watts can become a model 21st century urban community that focuses on greenhouse gas reduction strategies that will favorably impact the lives of 40,000 residents.
To get involved with CHG, please visit https://www.communityhealinggardens.org/ to donate to, adopt a tree and/or get your hands dirty and till the soil in the Garden.
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private non-profit organization helping to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies and ensuring an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation, transforming markets and enhancing community. Founded as a cluster-driven economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. In the past six years, LACI has helped 72 portfolio companies raise $159M in funding, $220M in revenue, create 1,700 jobs, and deliver more than $379M in long-term economic value.
Communications for CHG
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Communications Director, LACI
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