Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Earth Day Fundraiser for Van Ness Elementary School Garden

Neighbors organize Earth Day fundraiser for Van Ness Elementary School garden this Saturday from 2 – 5pm at Fanciful Baskets at 5617 Melrose Avenue

Celebrate Earth Day this Saturday and support the edible school garden at our local elementary school, Van Ness Elementary.  This local community-based fundraiser is open to  everyone (tickets are just $20) and proceeds go directly to the garden program. Organized by Larchmont Village residents Clint Peralta and Adam Rubenstein, joined by local realtor Bruce WalkerKnowles Karate Academy, and Viva LA Foodies, the casual event will take place at Fanciful Gift Baskets on Melrose Avenue, featuring sips and snacks curated by Fanciful’s food experts, Terry and Wally August. 

Victorian style dollhouse donated for Van Ness Elementary School fundraiser
Fancy dollhouse donated for Van Ness Elementary School fundraiser

Organizers promise great food and wine, terrific raffle prizes and that feeling of satisfaction when you help out the community. There’s even a special silent auction with seven spectacular dollhouses that have been donated by a local studio.

“We really hope that everyone in the community will come to the event,” said Pauline Hong,  who took over last year as principal, after serving for four years as vice principal. “I love our small school, but we need more students and we welcome families in the neighborhood to learn more about our new Transitional Kindergarten program, starting next year, as well as the preschool that will be joining our campus.”

There was some discussion last year about becoming a magnet school, Hong said, but the school community decided they wanted to continue to serve the local community and didn’t want to lose their residential boundaries (roughly Rossmore to Western; First Street to Melrose Avenue).

“We hope the community will take advantage of having this wonderful school in the neighborhood,” said Hong. “And thank everyone for all they are doing to help support our garden program.”

Van Ness Elementary has teamed up with Enrich L.A. and built an Edible Garden to promote healthy eating and active lifestyle by teaching kids about the importance of a healthy diet and the fun of growing what you eat. Van Ness Elementary is one of 24 Schools in the EnrichLA Garden Ranger program that provides weekly ( 4 hour) visits by rangers including maintenance + planting + troubleshooting of the school gardens and classes with the students. Curriculum is tied to common core and it costs the school $5,175 per school year. The school typically pays between 40% to 75% of cost with the balance paid through fundraising and grants. The goal of Saturday’s fundraiser is to raise $5,000 or fund the program for one year. 

“We’d like the event to continue on every year so we can help the school to create a fund to support the garden,” explained Clint Peralta, a Larchmont Village neighbor who, even though he doesn’t have any children at the school, got involved because he really wants to support our neighborhood elementary school. “I’m in the food business and I think it’s a great way to support our local school,” added Peralta.

If you want to help support the school, or just have some yummy snacks and chance at some great raffle prizes, stop by Fanciful Gift Baskets on Saturday between 2-5pm!

Fundraiser for Van Ness Elementary School Garden
Saturday, April 21st  2-5pm
Fanciful Gift Baskets
RSVP:, Email or Call 323/466-7654
Your donation of $20 (or more at your discretion) will go directly to the Edible Garden. Buy your tickets here and at the door the day of


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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