Whole Life Magazine

October / November 2015

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/578674

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Page 22 of 43

By Michele McManmon W hen Tomás O'Grady enrolled his daughter, Erin, in L.A.'s omas Starr King Middle School in 2008, he was worried about street gangs. He shared his concern in a meeting with principal Kristen Murphy, telling her, "My daughter is precious and I want this school to be great." Sens- ing an opportunity, Murphy suggested, "Why don't you help me?" Not skipping a beat he asked, "Do you have a garden?" O'Grady had a long history of working on and around land. He'd spent his youth farming in Galway, Ireland, later studying industrial engineering and eventually fi nd- ing his way to New Jersey, where he and his wife Justine had great success restoring rundown houses. He'd stopped "working for the man" when they moved to Los Feliz, where he designed and built a largely sustainable home. en when the fi rst of his four kids started preschool, he initiated a sustainability program there and taught the little ones how to compost. A Very Young Crop of Gardeners O is transforming L.A. Unifi ed schools How Tomás ' Grady's brainstorm october/november 2015 23

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