Love Cultivating Schoolyards


Program Name: Love Cultivating Schoolyards

Sites: ASCEND, Bret Harte, International Community School and Think College Now, and EnCompass Academy

Program Manager: Matthew Linzner

Program Instructors: Genesis Rodriguez, and Jose Luis Rodriguez.


Genesis with student planting


Program Mission:

With Love Cultivating Schoolyards (LCS) youth become active keepers of the land through hands-on garden activities and leadership opportunities. Youth interact with the natural world through planting seeds, growing plants, harvesting fruits & vegetables, picking flowers, studying insects, digging in the earth, and composting.


LCS is comprised of two components: 1) High school and recent high school graduate paid youth internships, and 2) Gardening classes for after-school students.


The internship component of LCS reaches students more profoundly as interns participate in the program year-round. The LCS Program Coordinator serves as a mentor for these students and has established a spirit of brotherhood. The LCS Program Coordinator and interns are responsible for establishing and maintaining gardens and compost programs. The interns develop leadership and teaching skills by leading a weekly gardening club for elementary students in Oakland Leaf’s ASCEND after-school program and for the regular day 4th grade science class.


The gardening class component of this program is called Garden Warriors. It currently consists of weekly gardening clubs for students of the ASW After-school Program at Ascend and Puma at Bret Harte Middle School. Both of these programs are led and taught by our LCS interns. Curriculum and lesson plans are planned with the program coordinator and senior interns who then present material to the younger interns of the program. Integrating the interns into the program makes gardening and science “cool” and engaging for younger students who view them as role models.


LCS students learn about science, nature, pollution, and the earth’s cycles through hands-on activities that complement their learning during the regular school day.


Arne Duncan applauded Oakland Leaf for “providing enrichment in . . . the arts".