Hello! Welcome to the official blog for Oakland International High School's Community Garden and Wellness Program! My name is Liza Jade Richheimer. I am one of the founding teachers at OIHS. This year thanks to a generous family foundation, I am lucky enough to be the coordinator of the Community Garden and Wellness Program.
My goals for the program are: to build and grow on-site gardens with students through science classes and after-school programs, to run after-school bike club twice a week, to teach a cooking class and a winter yoga class, to support Oakland Unified School District's mission of improving their cafeteria food, and to create a culture of environmental stewardship at our school.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A long overdue update! Part II

Here the publishing class poses with their well made Photoshop signs. They took photos of everything that should go in the garbage, recycling and compost bins and then Photoshopped them into the signs they made. Thanks again Ms. Thi! See other cool things our art teacher, Ms. Thi, does here!

Below are a handful of photos of the 11th graders doing WPA (Works Progress Administration) projects at OIHS. Thanks to Ms. Raquel, our 11th grade US History teacher, we had all the 11th graders doing school improvement projects with a garden twist! We made signs that ask students to keep our school clean, we rebuilt garden beds, we built a new compost system, we turned over our winter cover crop, we planted seedlings and we cleaned up garbage. All in all it was a very successful two days! Thanks for the extra help, Grey Kolevzon, Zack Reidman and Hubert McCabe!

In other news, we are setting up a food scrap program to be up and running by next Fall. While I had hoped it would happen sooner, I am pleased it will start in the Fall. I am working on a grant to pay two student monitors to help teach our community how to clear their trays!
We started bicycle club again. With such little rain this Winter, we are able to ride, which makes us all happy!
Ride for a Reason is a group of local parents and bike riders that organize a ride from Oakland to Sacramento every year to raise money for local Oakland schools and raise awareness about the lack of funding for public education. This year, we are lucky enough to be one of the schools to receive their generosity! Please consider riding, volunteering or donating to the cause!
Spring promises to be full of garden projects, cooking and school improvement projects. I'll keep you posted!
Lastly, please subscribe to the blog! At the bottom of the posts there is a place to subscribe. Once you have subscribed, you will get an email every time I post, that way I actually feel I'm writing to people instead of into the void of cyberspace!

A long overdue update! Part I

Hello All, while we don't really experience "winter" here in Oakland, I still took a little time to hibernate and work on programing and planning. I'm happy to finally be updating the blog and sharing in the exciting work we have been doing!

The Green Team has been very busy! The Green Team decided that it was important for all the garbage and recycling bins to be well labeled, so thanks to the publishing class, we have beautiful signs for our garbage and recycling! The Green Team spent close to four hours labeling every can we have in the school! Then the Green Team went around to each Advisory class and gave a power point presentation about where our garbage goes, how much we waste and the importance of reducing the amount of garbage we produce.

Above left: Nathanel reinforcing a point on a slide. Above right: Sabas, Karen, Chandra and Miguel
teaching a class.

Green team members labeling garbage cans.

Left: Brisa, Tenzin and Fatima showing where the garbage goes.

We have started cooking class! Thanks to the generous support of the Berkeley High School BBQ Club and the Center for Ecoliteracy we have been able to buy cooking equipment to have a moveable kitchen and food for cooking classes. For our first class, we made fresh fava bean soup and hummus. The next class we made Dal and samosas and last week we made potato fritters and a green salad with beets and warm goat cheese. The greens and beets were from our garden! So far there have been between 5-12 students from all different countries who have participated in the class. We are hoping to get some parents involved as well.

Below: potato fritters with onion and tomato relish and a beet and warm goat cheese salad.
Left: Pujan &
Sosina are excited to finally eat!

Above: Pujan and Shazia are already expert cooks!
Left: Sosina, Ana and Perla prepare the salad from our garden.

Above left: Shazia serving up Dal. Above right: Jessica preparing the spinach for the Dal
Above left: Asmait, Arsema and Sosina on the first day of class. Above right: Julieta and Ernestina rinsing red lentils.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Building garden beds and pea trellises

Last Wednesday
we had about 16 students help to build a new garden bed and some trellises for our peas.
Everyone wanted to get a chance to use the hand saw and the power drill. By the end the cuts were pretty straight!
Here Fatima is measuring out a cut.

The pea trellises came out beautifully, thanks to Tomi Kobara, a neighbor of the school and a landscape architect who donated some of her time to help out!

Here Sosina and Tati are setting the middle support board for the garden bed.
By the end of the day, all the boys had left and seven dedicated young woman stayed to finish the garden bed and clean up. They were proud of their work and excited to build the next one! We had some debate about where it should go, we need more sunny spots was the end conclusion. We hope to plant into this garden bed by the middle of January.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This week at OIHS

This week, we cooked collards following the directions of Alicia, one of our new 9th graders from Guatemala. We cooked them with onions and tomatoes and they were delicious! I was so impressed with the knowledge and confidence our students took on the kitchen this week. We served the collards for lunch to our school community.
Also this week I started teaching yoga class! I've had 8-10 students in each class and we're having a great time!