ENCINITAS — Encinitas Union School District’s farm lab is getting a spruce up Saturday spearheaded by the contractor that will be overseeing the farm lab’s long proposed expansion.
San Diego’s chapter of the Green Building Council and Balfour Beatty Construction are spearheading the event at the farm lab, which is in conjunction with the council’s “Green Apple Day of Service.”
Volunteers from Balfour Beatty and the Green Building Council and students will be building and installing garden boxes for a student learning garden, planting 30 or so fruit trees, painting two murals — one mural will grace the large Israeli-made rain barrels on the site and the other on the south side of the avocado room — and performing irrigation, weeding and general cleanup at the 10-acre site, which has been up and running for two years.
The work will allow for the expansion of the educational garden, said Mim Michelove, who oversees the farm lab for the district.
“It is going to be a really fun day, and we are excited to have been chosen for the Green Apple Day of Service,” Michelove said. “This is going to allow us to have better outdoor applications and help us continue to grow the message of producing food locally and its positive impacts on the environment.”
In addition to an educational site for students, the district — through a contract with the neighboring Coastal Roots Farm — also grows produce that is used at the school sites for lunches. Recently, the produce grown at the farm lab was certified organic, which the district believes makes it the first in the nation to have such a distinction.
Balfour Beatty is also involved with the proposed expansion of the farm lab, which will include a new nutrition science lab that will serve as a teaching kitchen, a new two-story A-frame barn, additional classrooms, restrooms an greenhouse and updates to the farm fields.
The school district has been waiting for city approval of those plans, which they anticipate should happen some time in November.
Green Apple Day is in its fifth installment, and allows the construction firm to give back to a school that it has worked with in the past with a community service project. Last year, the day of service was held at the new Pacific Trails Middle School, where they installed a garden. Two years ago, Montgomery Elementary School in Chula Vista also received a garden.
Saturday’s event starts at 8 a.m. and runs to 2:30 p.m. at the farm lab, which is located at 441 Quail Gardens Drive.