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Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center Inspires South Region Youth to Love Their Local Environment!

Post Date:11/07/2023 8:59 AM

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By Angelica Gastelum, Communications & Marketing Manager, Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center


Education. Nutrition. Mental health. A love for the environment of the South Region. All of these are areas impacted daily at Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center.

Olivewood is an 8-acre working farm nestled in the heart of National City. It is an area mostly populated by Hispanic/Latinx and Filipino communities that has historically combated diet-related health conditions and food apartheid (segregation based on systems that create inequitable food environments). In 2006, the Walton family donated their property, including a Victorian-style house and adjacent gardens, to the International Community Foundation for the purpose of community benefit. Olivewood Gardens was then created to improve our community by inspiring youth and adults through wellness programs and an unwavering commitment to outdoor education.

Olivewood’s programs have all been developed and have evolved as a result of community feedback.  Two of those are the Garden Explorers program and the High School Youth Community Leadership Program.


Garden Explorers

Garden Explorers is an outdoor class -- and adventure -- where students engage with nature through science. This monthly two-hour program is geared toward K-6th graders and includes a craft and garden snack.  Explorers engage in the garden through hands-on activities, exploration, and education.  Topics have included: All About Bugs, How Does Your Garden Grow, Petal Power, Explore the 5 Senses, and Art in the Outdoors. Classes are open to all learners and align with Girl Scout badges (Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors). The cost is $25 per child, with a 50% discount for National City residents. For any questions, including cost accommodations, please contact the Youth Program Coordinator, Kelsey at


High School Youth Community Leadership Program

Olivewood’s Youth Community Leadership Program is a six-week program for any high school teen who wants to gain skills and knowledge surrounding community engagement, food systems and justice. The applied learning culminates in a shared group project with a second cohort. Currently the students -- who receive community service hours and a stipend -- are constructing an archway “Welcome” sign and compost stations.


For more information about either program, contact or follow Olivewood on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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