Monday, December 6, 2010

New Guideline for Parkway Improvements

The Bureau of Street Services released a new Residential Parkway Landscaping Guideline for City of LA residents. Under this guideline, residents can remove the grass in their parkway and plant 20 different drought tolerant species without having to apply for permits.  The parkway is the strip of grass between the curb and the sidewalk.  Some surprises on this planting list includes chamomile, thyme and two varieties of strawberries.

Residents may also be eligible for the Residential Drought Resistant Landscape Incentive Program offered to LADWP customers by SoCal WaterSmart.  This rebate program offers resident $1 per square foot of grass removed.  Residents must meet qualifications and be approved for this rebate prior to removing their grass.  Funding is limited and the program will end when the funding is exhausted.  The Rebates Remaining Index is at 48% as of November 30, 2010.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Glenwood Elementary Completes "The BEST Mural Project Ever"

Glenwood Elementary held a dedication on October 26, 2010, to showcase their completed mural project titled "The BEST Mural Project Ever."  The mural was featured in The Daily News, as shown in the clipping below.  Muralist, Helene Cob, collaborated with Glenwood Elementary staff, students and volunteers to create the bottom two murals in "The BEST Mural Project Ever".  This is second "BEST" project funded by City of Los Angeles' Community Beautification Grant.

Left: Daily News clipping on October 27, 2010.  Right: Full mural image titled "Healthy Foods" which connects to the school's health curriculum and promotes healthy concerns.                                                                                                                         

"Heritage Mural 1" which depicts the immigrant experience and the history of the United States.
The first BEST project funded by CB Grant is "The BEST Garden Ever" (pictured below).  These two projects ties into the school's BEST program which is a school-wide positive behavior program that teaches students about respect, responsibility and safety. 

"The Best Garden Ever"

Friday, October 15, 2010

CB Grant Projects along the cicLAvia route

Did you take part in the first cicLAvia? On 10/10/10, a reported 100,000+ people took advantage of 7.5 miles of Los Angeles City streets that were closed off to cars. This event brought people from all over to walk, jog, skate, and ride their bikes along this comfortable route. This idea originated in Bogotá, Columbia and has spread across the globe.

Along, this route were many visible Community Beautification Grant funded projects that you might have seen.

Little Tokyo Sparkle and Beautification Project
Beautify Little Tokyo Coalition, c/o Little Tokyo Service Center

In the downtown area, you could not miss this mural along Central Avenue. This mural was created to celebrate Japanese-American culture with images of Manzanar, youth basketball, and local festivals.

Positive Places
Central City Neighborhood Partners

This project envisions sitting/meeting areas around the City of Los Angeles in random public spaces. They would like to put "community living rooms" all over to create places to read, drink some water, and chill out for a moment before you head off on your merry way.

MacArthur Park Primary Center Building Marker and Community Mural
MacArthur Park Primary Center

This mural, under the direction of muralist Yuriko Etue, is a great way to announce the primary center located on 7th Street, directly across from MacArthur Park.

Lacer Stars Mural at Sacred Fools Theatre
Los Angeles Center For Education Research (LACER)

Upon getting to one of the end points of cicLAvia towards Melrose in East Hollywood, you are greeted with open arms by this mural.

New Gates to Rosewood Community Garden
Rosewood Community Garden

This project is considered "special mention". It was slightly off the route and many did not even know they were passing this vibrant community garden even though it has those beautiful welcoming gates with a sign announcing its presence.

If you would like to see more of the over 1,000 projects completed in partnership with the community with the Community Beautification Grant, just click this link!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Start a Vegetable Garden: The Home Farming Movement

Applications are now available for the creation of a vegetable garden in the LA area as part of the "Home Farming Movement", in which Urban Farming and Triscuit is teaming up together in support of community-based home farms.

Urban Farming and Triscuit will be funding the creation of four 400 sq ft vegetable garden, in support of their mission of transforming unused land into a garden that supplies fresh food for the local communities. To apply, applicants must meet the following requirements:
1. The group should consist of people who are committed to implementing and maintaining the garden.
2. The location of the garden must have 6+ hours of sun and have access to water. The location must be in an urban/suburban area that has no existing garden.
** Schools and children's groups cannot apply (with the exception of university level).

Urban Farming will provide the following to the awarded gardens:
- Soil/compost to cover 400 sq ft, 18" high; plants and seeds for one planting season
- Irrigation for 400 sq ft
- Tools (one time)
- Soil testing
- Garden insurance
- Urban Farming and Triscuit "Home Farming" sign
- Assistance with permit approvals
- Help with matching a Master Gardener
** Cost of water is not covered.

Applications are due November 24th, 2010; however, if there are still available funds, Urban Farming will accept applications until December 31, 2010.

For more information or an application, please contact Meg Glasser preferably by email at Her contact number is (646) 726-1563.

To join in the "Home Farming Movement" and have access to information and garden advice, please click here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Need Funding to Maintain Your Project?

Applications are now available for the 2010 Maintenance Matching Fund Program provided by Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI). This program awards qualified LANI organizations of up to $3,000 to fund the cost of maintaining past completed projects. Organization must match 50% of the requested amount through volunteer labor, grants, and/or donations of cash, materials or supplies, and professional services.

The following are eligibility information from the Frequently Asked Questions of the application packet:

· Does the proposed maintenance project have to be a LANI improvement?

No, it does not. Although an applicant neighborhood MUST be a LANI neighborhood, the improvement proposed for maintenance does not have to be an improvement originally funded or implemented by LANI.

· What constitutes being a LANI neighborhood?

Being a LANI neighborhood means that your community went through the LANI process of organizing a Recognized Community Organization (RCO), developing a Community work Plan and receiving LANI funding to make public improvement in your community in 1994, 1997, 2000 OR that LANI funding has been used to make improvements in your community and a steering committee or stakeholder group has been established. LANI neighborhoods are listed in the application forms (also provided on this map). Applications will be denied if applicant community is not a LANI neighborhood.

· What constitutes being an eligible organization?

Eligible organizations fall into three categories. Applicant organization must:

1) Be the original LANI RCO; or

2) Be the stakeholder group or steering committee established for implementation of a LANI project; or

3) Be an established organization in a LANI neighborhood that works to achieve our same goals of neighborhood revitalization. Neighborhood councils are eligible organizations.

Funding can be used to pay for the following:

  • Maintain or repair an existing neighborhood improvement,
  • Maintenance service, or
  • Replacing minor low-cost improvements

The last date to submit an application is October 29, 2010. For the complete guidelines and application, please click here.

If you have questions regarding this program, please contact Rebecca Draper, Director of Neighborhood Improvement Projects at (213) 627-1822 x16 or by email at

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Backyard Composting

Turn Your Green Waste into Compost
Backyard composting is a way to manage your waste at home and eliminating the amount of waste going to the landfill. For information on how you can turn your green waste into compost, read this Composting Guide provided by City of LA Sanitation's Solid Resources division. You can also learn about backyard composting, worm composting, compost bins, grasscycling, and other gardening techniques at one of its workshop events held on the 4th Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Griffith Park Composting Education Facility located at 5400 Griffith Park Drive, Los Angeles. Compost bin sales are held on the 2nd Friday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m) and 4th Saturday (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.) of the month at the Griffith Park Composting Education Facility. Go to their website for a complete list of workshops, compost bin sales event and worm suppliers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One Million Dollar Grant Opportunity

Peoples Garden School Pilot Program

USDA Food and Nutritional Service (FNS) is now accepting proposals for a one million dollar grant for a People's Garden School Pilot Program. The grant will be awarded to a recognized organization who best develops a pilot program to create community gardens at 2 or more eligible high-poverty schools (at least 50% of students are eligible for free or reduce price meals).

The purposes of the grant and pilot program are:

1. To instill knowledge of agriculture practices, diet and nutrition to the students.

2. The sharing of produce from the garden with eligible schools, student households, local food banks and/or senior center nutrition programs.

3. To analyze the impact of school gardens on educational outcomes.

The guidelines and application forms can be accessed here. Applications are due October 8, 2010. If you have questions, contact Lisa Johnson, Grants Officer, by email at or

Sign up for the webinar on August 31, 2010 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time to learn more about the grant and to get your questions answered. If you miss the webinar, click here to view the recorded webcast of the webinar.

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Garden Started by Two Moms

Two moms, Theresa Franklin and Lisa Mann, told their story on about "How Two Moms Brought Organic Food to an Urban School" for Rio Vista Elementary School. After learning that their kid's kindergarten class believed that vegetables came from the store, the two moms became inspired to change the kids' views.

Theresa and Lisa made their idea into reality after seeing an underutilized piece of land that can be transformed into a garden. They received approval from Department of Recreation and Parks to use the land and on behalf of Rio Vista PTA, they applied and was awarded the CB Grant for two consecutive years. With the grant funds, the PTA was able to build over a dozen planting beds and purchase a tool shed, plants and other supplies for the garden.

With the help of the school community, the area has transformed into a beautiful sanctuary that provides a unique learning experience for the teachers and students. As stated by Theresa, the kids can "know that their veggies come from a seed planted in the ground.....learn responsibility, life cycles and much more."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

LAUSD Gardens Featured on CNN

Westminster Elementary School "WE Garden"
CNN's anchor, Anderson Cooper, recently featured a story on LAUSD's gardens, showcasing two gardens, Berendo Elementary School's garden and Westminster Elementary School's "WE Garden" which was funded by the CB Grant.

John Sohn, LAUSD's Chief of Facilities, stated that much of LAUSD's property is asphalted and concreted. By transforming the barren area into a garden, "its bringing learning, its bringing modification, its bringing jobs", as provided by Monica Garcia, LAUSD's Board President.

At Berendo Elementary, students are enjoying their new garden. Cheyenne Banks, a 5th grade student, said that there used to be "just cement a couple of years ago, there wasn't really much life here; but now a lot of creatures have homes here." The students can see the benefits of having a school garden: bugs thriving in their natural environment, less money spent at stores for vegetables, and the vitality it adds to the school.

The video, California's green schools, can be viewed on Anderson Cooper's blog, Anderson Cooper 360.

Monday, August 2, 2010

How do you like the new look?

We have updated the look of the blog for the first time. We would like to know how you like it. Can you read the text? So you like the colors? Any comments, negative or postive are welcomed at Thank you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Need Tools For Your Clean-up Event?

Planning a community clean-up event in the City of Los Angeles can be easy. The Office of Community Beautification has coordinators that are assigned to different sections of the City to provide your group with the tools needed for a neighborhood-based clean-up event.

OCB has a warehouse full of hand tools that can be loaned out to organizations, including rakes, brooms, hoes, lopping shears, shovels and trash bags to help you beautify your community. These tools can be delivered to your organization or picked up from our warehouse. We request that orders be placed at least 3 weeks in advance of the event to ensure the availability of tools. Gerry Valido, one of the OCB Coordinators, suggests to have the following information ready upon placing your tool request:

  • Your group/event name.
  • Clean-up date.
  • Type of clean-up (e.g. litter pick-up, landscaping, graffiti removal).
  • Delivery/tool pickup date - OCB in most cases can deliver the tools a few days prior to the event and picks up the tools the week after.
  • Expected number of volunteers.
  • Meeting area and map of area to be cleaned.

Below are some other helpful suggestions:

  • Provide water and snacks to the volunteers before and after the event.
  • Have a first-aid kit visible and available on site.
  • Alert all volunteers to wear proper footwear on the day of the event -- no open-toed shoes.
  • Ensure there's access to restrooms.
  • Have meaningful tasks for the volunteers to do.

For more information, please call the OCB hotline at (213) 978-0228.

Monday, July 12, 2010

No Funding for New CB Grants for 2010-11

In the past, CB Grant staff would usually be distributing applications and preparing for workshops during the month of July; however with the City facing another difficult budget year, funding was not allocated to offer Community Beautification Grants for the 2010-11 fiscal year. Since funding is not available, we will not be hosting our popular grant preparation workshops, nor awarding neighborhoods new funding for beautification projects this year.

To date, the CB Grant Program has completed over 1,035 projects in partnership with community organizations. We hope that the suspension of the CB Grant program is temporary so that we can continue to make a difference in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles with this grant.

Although we can't fund projects for 2010-11, CB Grant staff will continue to support the 200+ projects that are in progress. We will also keep an eye out for opportunities that are open to the community and post them on this blog.

Please join our

mailing list to receive updates regarding the CB Grant Program.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grant Opportunity: NEA's Green Across America

The National Education Association (NEA), in partnership with Target, is awarding $50,000 in grants for their "Green Across America" grant program.

Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to educators who can inspire their students to "go green" through an activity, program, lesson or event. Applications will be scored based on the details of the activity, program, lesson or event.

The proposed plan should include the following:
1. Be creative, original and inspires students to go green .

2. A project timeline with a completion date by the 2010-11 school year.

3. Specific metrics used to measure the impact and/or effectiveness of the proposed program.

4. A budget that is cost-effective.

The deadline for online submission is July 30, 2010. Click here for the complete rules to the grant.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LA Way - An Information Packed iPhone App

How would you like an free Los Angeles-based iPhone app that shows you the closest library, coffee shop, yoga facility or free wi-fi access point to where you are right now? We found that app. It is called LA WAY.

Once you open the app, you are presented 32 different topics of information on two screens, such as Dining, Events, Tours, Gas Stations, Apartments and News. However, many of the topics have more specific sub-topics. For example, once you click on the Shopping topic, you will find more specific sub-topics like Department Stores, Fashion, Gadgets, Malls and Outlets, and Florists.

It is a quick and simple way to check what services are around you at any given point in the day. You can download this app for free from the iTunes marketplace, by clicking on this link. Let us know what you think.

*To our knowledge, this app is not affiliated with the City of Los Angeles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

15th Annual Grant Workshop

Photo from last year's grant workshop
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard will be hosting her 15th Annual Grants Workshop on Friday, June 4th, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Gas Company's Energy Resource Center located at 9240 E. Firestone Blvd in Downey, California. This is a great opportunity to learn about the grants available to you as an organization and to meet grant-making representatives. Below are some of the agencies who will be giving presentations:
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • Administration of Aging
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • California Emergency Management Agency
For more information and/or to RSVP for this event, contact Projects Manager, Diana Porras by email ( or by fax (213-628-8578). The last date to register for this workshop is Friday, May 21st.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Free Mulch to all LA Residents

Spring is here and it's time to plant your garden. To help you, the City of LA Bureau of Sanitation is offering FREE mulch and compost to all residents of LA. Bring your own shovel and bags to one of the 9 sites listed below and take as much mulch as you need. Click here for a listing of times and locations.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pitchfork - Free plants available 5/15 at Sylmar High School

There will be a free plant give-away on Saturday, May 15 at 8:30 at Sylmar High School (13050 Borden Ave., Sylmar 91342). If you have any questions, send an e-mail to More information below.
CLICK HERE for larger image.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

LANI's 8th Annual Community Forum on Thursday, May 13

This week, a great community gathering will take place, the 2010 Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) 8th Annual Community Forum. The forum will be held on Thursday, May 13th, 2010, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m at the USC Davidson Conference Center, 3415 S. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90007. The esteemed founder and CEO of Homeboy Industries, Father Greg Boyle, will be the Honorary Speaker at this year's event. Topics discussed at the workshops include:
  • THE BEAT ON YOUR STREET: Community Policing in Action
  • POTATO CHIPS TO PRODUCE: Bringing Healthy Food to the Corner Market
  • PROMOTORES: Neighbors Sharing Information and Creating Change
  • SOME LIKE IT HOT: Reshaping Our Highways with High-Occupancy Toll Lanes
  • COMMUNITY WALKING GROUPS: Walking Your Way to Better Health
  • GRIDLOCKED: Mitigating L.A.'s Notorious Traffic Congestion
  • L.A.'S UNTAPPED MARKETS: Catalyzing Investment in Inner-City Neighborhoods
  • SOUTH L.A. UPDATE: Planning for the Renaissance
More information on these topics is provided on the brochure. It is not too late to register -- go to
See you there!