Shadow Shadow

Benefits of L.I.F.E. Shared by Community

Community Involvement
This ground-breaking program has its roots in the Farm-to-School program started in 2002 by Henning Sehmsdorf and Elizabeth Simpson, whose nearby 50-acre biodynamic farm is an outdoor classroom that teaches students to be stewards of the earth as they learn about food “from seed to plate.” 

A collaborative effort to expand the scope of this successful program began in 2005 between Lopez School District, Lopez Community Land Trust, Lopez Island Education Foundation, S&S Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Lopez Island Family Resource Center along with Washington State University, WSU Extension Office - San Juan County, and the Heller Family.

In a wellness policy adopted by the Lopez School Board, district policy members recognized that the gardens addressed requirements set forth in the new, state-mandated wellness policy to tackle childhood obesity and the diabetes epidemic. The Heller Family Foundation provided financial and program support, funding the addition of garden space, building unheated greenhouses, training school staff and faculty, and hiring a curriculum coordinator who works with students at all grade levels. 

The new program was also supported by Antonia Demas, PhD, Founder of the Food Studies Institute, whose innovative curriculum educates students about nutrition and was used to help design the Lopez School's garden curriculum. She was the principal presenter at a week-long Summer Institute held on Lopez Island for educators, activists, food service personnel, school board members, wellness advocates and parents involved and interested in the L.I.F.E. Garden Program.

The Center for Ecoliteracy has been tremendously helpful in the development of the LIFE Program, and their contribution as a mentor organization has been invaluable.

A Healthier Diet
In just a few years, the L.I.F.E. Garden Program has replaced the institutional diet of commodity foods served in the school cafeteria with locally raised meat and natural, healthy produce grown by the students on the public school campus. By linking to public policy and looking for sustainable, healthier alternatives to conventional approaches, the Lopez Island School’s farm education program shows what a public school can do to promote and support a culture of health and wellness among students, staff and the community. The benefits of L.I.F.E. begin in the schools and are designed to last a lifetime. 

The Benefits of L.I.F.E.
INVESTMENT in our children is sound public policy, resulting in increased potential for success individually and collectively.

IMPROVEMENT in cognitive skills, behavior and conflict resolution are positive outcomes of programs that focus on nature and nutrition. 

DEVELOPMENT of partnerships through deep community involvement creates sustainability and increases ecological literacy.

COMMITMENT to implementing sound, healthy practices and supporting the systems upon which life depends, improves the quality of life for all.


Programs for Change

Cultivating Change

The L.I.F.E. Garden Program teaches K-12 students how to grow and eat organic, healthy food...

Nourishing Change

Evening Meals at School serve up organic, affordable communal dinners for the whole community...

Demonstrating Change

S&S Homestead Farm demonstrates principles of sustainability and takes a leadership role in educating youth...

Inspiring Change

The Vita Parcours Lopez Island Fitness and Ecology Trail offers a scenic fitness experience for all abilities and ages...

Promoting Change

Local initiatives support cultural diversity, a connected community, and healthy, well-informed individuals...

Healthy Change

Collaborating with a local effort to bring clean water to a village in Ethiopia with the Water for Anasi project...