The Giving Marin Community Partnership, a major initiative of the business community and Marin Independent Journal, offers local nonprofit organizations assistance with marketing through sponsored ads in the paper and online along with exposure via social media platforms. At the end of 2018, Giving Marin gave back 15% of revenues generated through the program to Marin County nonprofit organizations. More than 130 organizations applied for the grants. Through a rigorous process, six organizations were chosen to receive $10,000 each. Over the next few months, we will share with you the impact of these grants.

Lori Davis founded Sanzuma in Marin County in 2012. Sanzuma began by delivering solar ovens to small villages in remote regions of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Mexico. With the food produced from the ovens, the villagers could earn an income, cook food without cutting down trees for wood, and purify their water, all without electricity or propane. Sanzuma’s motto is  “Your health should not be a reflection of your economic status.” Davis found the same challenges existed in Marin County and began developing the School Farm-to-Cafeteria program.  Since 2013, Sanzuma has converted many existing school gardens into producing farms and taught thousands of nutrition classes while educating the students about how to grow their own food.

The produce from the gardens is processed through the San Rafael City School lunch program for their salad bars. The $10,000 Giving Marin 2018 grant was spent on the San Pedro School garden and orchard in San Rafael, including fence building materials, staff to prep the land and plant the trees, tree gopher baskets for 30 trees, mulch, tree tags,  food to feed the workgroup four times and weed whacking the orchard three times so far. As soon as the trees start producing, that fruit will be served in the school meal program for years to come.

There is some funding left for orchard maintenance and the irrigation system that will be installed soon. The success of the current project will allow Sanzuma to apply for additional grants that will be used for a garden project at Novato public school sites. To make a donation to the new farm site which will grow food for both San Rafael and Novato school districts as well as several local early childhood centers,  visit     -Photos of San Pedro Elementary School garden and orchard Executive Director Lori Davis  courtesy of Sanzuma

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