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Edgewood Learning Garden
LASN November 2015 Stewardship

By Kelsey Ochs and Zachary Davis, SWA Group

Edgewood Learning Garden in San Francisco began as an invited site concept for a renovated garden. SWA Group provided pro bono site design and concept through design build for this 3/4 -acre park. Small Brown Landscape Architects provided building permit documentation.

Edgewood Learning Garden in San Francisco is an outdoor respite for the children of Edgewood, including a vegetable garden, outdoor classroom, kitchen and a green house.

The Learning Garden began as an invited site concept competition for a renovated garden on a 3/4 -acre plot. SWA Group's effort was 100 percent pro-bono based on the conviction that programs such as Edgewood's intensive services exemplify human kindness.

The Learning Garden expanded the vision of a small existing garden at Edgewood's Vicente Campus, perched on the high side of campus with the handsome backdrop of Stern Groove.

The Garden was envisioned to expand learning opportunities for children in the Center's Academic, Therapeutic and Arts Programs. It provides a much needed outdoor space for art, gardening and nutrition/culinary topics. A calming space helps those who need some time in an intimate garden setting. It has 10 large vegetable beds organized on axis with one of the campus's main cottages, with a lawn terrace overlooking the hillside.

The garden was completed through pro bono and donated/discounted efforts by a team of local designers and contractors with the horsepower of a Rebuilding Together volunteer day.

Students paint and draw here, make masks, and learn about growing, harvesting and cooking vegetables at the outdoor kitchen with an earthen brick oven. It's become a cherished space that deepens the curriculum of the school's classes and provides the children with a real connection to the land and local ecology.

Edgewood Center for Children and Families works with children who have suffered abuse, neglect, or mental illness and their families. Vicente Campus houses a school and day treatment program, and a residential facility for some of the children. The garden has formed an important part of the school program, striving to gives these talented minds a solid foundation and diversity of experience to build on. SWA developed the site design package and helped to facilitate fundraising for the project and coordination and drawings to procure a building permit. The firm solicited local contractors to volunteer to build the garden at a discounted cost.

Jensen and Webcor Builders offered their installation services, with Jensen completing site preparation, hardscape, and the construction of raised planter beds.

Webcor finished the job with garden plants and irrigation, and the first crop of vegetables in collaboration with Rebuilding Together. Edgewood Center has a garden coordinator and an art's program director who keep the greenhouse and veggie beds in good care, and use the garden and outdoor classroom throughout the year as part of the Expressive Arts Program that Edgewood offers.

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