Four years after establishing in Highland Park, founding director Nicole Gatto is shifting focus to the L.A. Sprouts school garden program.
"The only greater gift than being able to develop such a significant project has been the seeing the community flourish with the resources provided in Milagro Allegro," Gatto said in an official statement on Milagro Allegro's website. "While any departure has its bittersweet aspects, I know that there is much more important work ahead to improve the health of our communities."
This February, L.A. Sprouts will begin a collaboration with --through which a converted concrete lot on the school's property will serve as a classroom garden.
Throughout the semester, student will use the garden to learn about the science of gardening and nutrition.
L.A. Sprouts will also study the health benefits of eating garden fresh food at Monte Vista.
During the summer of 2010, Gatto said, Milagro Allego participated in similar study through which students from Loreto Street Elementary School in Cypress Park attended regular classes at their garden on South Avenue 56.
A total of 100 Loreto Street Elementary School fourth and fifth graders took part in the program, 34 of whom took weekly classes at Milagro Allego. Those classes included hands-on lessons in gardening, nutrition and cooking. The remaining students observed but did not participate in classes.
The study found that students who participated in the program showed an increased preference for fruits and vegetables, consumed more fiber and showed generally positive changes in body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure.
Gatto said L.A. Sprouts is set to expand to four Los Angeles elementary schools.
"L.A. Sprouts, which has been in development over the last several months, will build four school gardens to host our after-school nutrition/cooking and gardening program aimed at reducing the risk of childhood obesity in youth," Gatto wrote in the statement.