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Villaraigosa Kicks off Day of Service Getting Dirty at a New LAUSD School Garden

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Up until Monday, the portion of the yard at Saturn Street Elementary school marked as the garden was still asphalt. It's taken much hard work by the staff, students, parents, and local community, but today marked the launch of their school garden. To get things started, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made Saturn his first stop today as part of his Mayor's Day of Service.

Showing his support for garden-based education in the LAUSD, Villaraigosa was joined by Councilman Herb Wesson and a representative from Scott's MiracleGro this morning in a groundbreaking ceremony that included recognition for a Saturn 5th grader who has taking a leadership role on campus as class president, in the recycling program, and, most importantly, in the garden. The garden was awarded a 2010 Give Back to Gro grant from Keep America Beautiful and Scott's Miracle Gro Company, as well, and have also joined up with Plant a Row for the Hungry and will donate produce grown in the garden to the First Presbyterian Church food pantry--an effort also lauded by Villaraigosa as a powerful way for the students to help others in their community.

After the groundbreaking the many volunteers rolled up their sleeves and began the task of digging into the freshly-broken soil so that the raised beds can soon be filled with edibles and ornamentals to be tended by the students, who will not only see their plants grow, but experience growth themselves. Today's launch of the garden was indeed a celebration to the many people who have worked hard to get things in the ground there; as things got underway this morning Saturn Principal Tracie Bryant proudly remarked: "At Saturn our motto is 'Where college begins and where learning is fun.' This definitely reflects that."

Keep up with Saturn's garden via Twitter and Facebook.