Farmer D's outline of the "Salsa Garden"

One simple act turns into a “BIG HELP”

Remember last month’s school project when we helped plant the raised beds for the school across the street – weren’t those kids the cutest!?  The school was having trouble getting soil and plants donated and that’s where we stepped in and used some of our connections.

That seemly small and simple act helped the school finish off their “Nature Garden” to gain their “Wildlife” certification thru National Wildlife Federation which in turned lead to a surprising phone call from Nickelodeon’s hit series, ”How to Rock” last week and at the end of the day a VERY surprising announcement!

The school was a buzz with excitement and Farmer D was recruited again to help design a “Salsa Garden” this time at their Middle School campus which spreads behind our entire neighborhood.

Working side-by-side with middle school students at New Horizon School in Pasadena, California, on Monday, April 30, 2012, the cast of Nickelodeon’s hit series, ”How to Rock,” lent support to the school’s budding Peace Garden project. Nickelodeon’s The Big Help, in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, shines a spotlight on exciting projects that kids are doing in their schools and community to improve and take care of the environment and selected New Horizon out of 800 schools and organizations throughout the United States.

In a spirit of cooperation, students and cast members worked together on several tasks including pruning an overgrown fig tree, testing soil samples, building a garden shed, planting fruit trees, and starting a salsa garden bed.

“It was great bringing together kids and the cast of Nickelodeon for a good cause, sustainability, and it’s good that celebrities acknowledge the need for a peace garden,” said Ramzi Beshir, sixth grader.

Later in the day, Cymphonique Miller and the “How to Rock” cast talked to the entire student body at a special all-school pep rally emphasizing the importance of the work the students are doing. Student Body President Mostafa El-Harazi and Vice President Nadene Eissa presented the cast with a beautiful card made of recycled materials, signed by all the students, thanking them for helping the school on this valuable project.

The most exciting announcement of the day, however, was Nickelodeon’s decision to donate $20,000 to the school to support its ongoing environmental work. After offering the gift to the school, the Nickelodeon crew welcomed Head of School Amira Al-Sarraf into the Nickelodeon family by dumping green slime on top of her. With appreciation, Mrs. Al-Sarraf said, “I am honored to receive the donation on behalf of the entire school community and believe wholeheartedly in promoting stewardship and environmental education in the lives of our students, and if slime comes with the package, I’m all in. Thank you, Nickelodeon!” Seventh grader Marah Hasan also commented, “The gift they gave to the school was awesome. I was speechless! It is great for our school to get noticed.”

WOW! Who would have imagined from a simple deed we were a part of ended up being “paid forward” into a $20,000 donation to the school!  Hopefully this unexpected monetary gift will go towards revitalizing the whole “Middle School” garden for the kid to learn and enjoy.

Kids & teacher test the soil

In go the stepping stones

Planting the tomatoes

& Fruit trees

Everyone hard at work

Bringing new life to an abandon school garden

Farmer D gives instructions to the young cast members

Tomatoes, peppers, onions... bring on the CHIPS!

Now with that bit of upbeat news, we are working a some exciting expansion news ourselves.  Stay tuned… and we are going to need your SUPPORT to kick start!

{Please note: we were there on site that day to help the kids plant veggies.  The raised beds woods were purchased & installed nearly 10 years ago.  Sadly after a few years the garden lay abandoned and overgrown with weeds. Also there is plastic lining inside the beds and since this was a school installation I believe whoever put them in was aware the issue of treated lumber or using creosote rail road ties, which has been banned in the state of CA.}




  1. Jackie A says:

    So exciting! Wonderful that you all were there to help, what a perfect combination.

  2. Joy Giles says:

    Just think what could happen if more people did these paying forward activities? “To those who much is give, much is required.” We all “have” at different levels but all can give back in small or large ways. Thanks for being a “shining example” off the highway. 🙂

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