A pink shirt and matching tie didn’t deter Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) from sinking his hands into a soon-to-be planted flower bed Friday at College View School, as Glendale Unified school board member Mary Boger distributed 300 worms nearby.
“My father, when I was a kid, used to teach me the importance of getting down and working with the dirt, and I just think it is an important life lesson that kids should learn,” Gatto said. “It gives a really rewarding feeling when you plant something and a couple of months later you get a chance to see it grow, and then you get a chance to eat it.”
Gatto was one of dozens of civic leaders, education officials and schoolchildren laboring to create a new garden at the special-education school, made possible in part by a grant the freshman state representative secured through Western Growers Foundation, the charitable arm of the agriculture trade association Western Growers.
The half-dozen wooden flower beds — paid for and constructed by the Glendale Kiwanis Club — were designed to be accessible to College View’s students, including those in wheelchairs. Students planted everything from corn and beans to squash and strawberries.
“Gardening is a non-verbal skill where you stick your hands in the dirt and you watch things grow,” said Kiwanis member Lisa Brooks. “Anyone can do it. And it is just a wonderful thing for these kids to be able to plant.”