Growing Green Jobs with Ahmanson Grant

An Ahmanson Foundation grant will help grow horticultural occupational training for veterans and helps support efforts to promote the benefits of growing native California plants to home owners and professional landscapers at Grow Native Nursery Westwood.

The Ahmanson Foundation in Los Angeles awarded Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden a grant for the purpose of funding upfront capital costs to help continue to modify the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System’s Veterans’ Garden space into a nursery operation.

“I'm excited we are going to be able to better serve the job training needs of our veterans,” said Patrick Larkin, RSABG executive director. “We are extremely grateful to The Ahamanson Foundation for investing in green jobs and expanding the appreciation of California’s native plants.”

Grow Native Nursery Westwood’s structure development includes renovating the greenhouse, portable sales building and education center. These renovations will enable Grow Native Nursery Westwood to expand its horticultural occupational training and therapeutic services for L.A.-area veterans and grow as a California native plant leader in Westside communities.

Working with the VA’s Compensated Work Therapy Program (CWT), veterans working at Grow Native Nursery Westwood focus on native flora of the state as well as sustainable landscaping and gardening practices. Vets completing the nursery’s CWT program have a competitive edge in the job market as they compete for green and environmental jobs.

The Ahmanson Foundation’s stated mission includes a commitment to support “non-profit organizations that demonstrate sound fiscal management, efficient operations, and program integrity,” and by doing so “the Foundation strives to enhance the quality of life and cultural legacy of the Los Angeles community.” The Foundation considers requests for capital support after there is clear evidence that the goal of the campaign will be achieved and that it will be accomplished within a reasonable time period.

The Ahmanson Foundation was incorporated in 1952 as a private foundation with initial funding from financier Howard F. Ahmanson and his wife, Dorothy Grannis Ahmanson. The Ahmanson Foundation serves Los Angeles County by funding cultural projects in the arts and humanities, education at all levels, health care, programs related to homelessness and underserved populations as well as a wide range of human services. By supporting non-profit organizations that demonstrate sound fiscal management, efficient operation, and program integrity, the Foundation strives to enhance the quality of life and cultural legacy of the Los Angeles community.

The 15-acre nursery, formerly known as the Veterans’ Garden, was established in 1989 as part of the VA’s Horticulture Therapy Program, a work therapy program to assist veterans making the transition back to civilian employment. The Grow Native Nursery Westwood staff collaborates with VAGLAHS to train veterans on the propagation, care and maintenance of California native plants. The partnership between RSABG and GLAHS, began in January 2010, offers a new focus on native flora as well as sustainable landscaping and gardening practices. In addition to occupational therapy for the veterans the project will offer nursery sales of California native plants to water-conscious Angelenos. RSABG members enjoy a 10 percent discount on all nursery purchases. Free parking while shopping at the nursery is available.

The Grow Native Nursery Westwood is open year round, Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.