2020 Greenbuild Legacy Project

The Greenbuild legacy lives on in each community that hosts the conference and seeks to leave a lasting positive impact. This year, despite being virtual and fully global, the Greenbuild legacy project partner is our original host partner, San Diego Green Building Council. The Greenbuild San Diego Legacy Project is an outdoor garden Master Plan, designing a multi-purpose outdoor classroom and growing space for a local food security and nutrition education non-profit serving the San Diego region.

This legacy project responds to the need for healthy food education, social equity and accessibility. It also speaks to the social equity pillar of sustainability. Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center’s historic 7.85-acre property in National City, California serves as an inclusive and Daytime Rendering interactive, indoor-outdoor classroom for San Diegans of South Bay. They are driven to build healthy families in their local environment. They do this through science-based nutrition education, hands-on gardening lessons, cooking classes, and leadership development programs for both the youth and adults.

For more information, about San Diego Green Building council, please visit: https://www.sd-gbc.org/about_us

The Greenbuild San Diego Legacy Project seeks to leave a lasting positive impact on the National City, CA community. In 2005, residents were already voicing their concerns about the lack of affordable healthy food in National City and its impact on their daily lives in an environmental health coalition community survey. In 2007 the ICF Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy was established by the ICF Foundation.

The center later became the Olivewood Gardens to respond to the need for healthy food education, production, and access. Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center’s historic 7.85-acre property in National City, California serves as an interactive, indoor-outdoor classroom for children and adults from around San Diego County.

Their purpose is to build healthy families and a healthy environment. They do this through science-based environmental education and nutrition lessons, hands-on gardening and cooking classes, and job skills and leadership development programs for youth, adults, and families. Olivewood Gardens offers a unique opportunity of existing infrastructure, programs, partners, and community buy-in to allow the legacy project to aid in a thriving non-profit; knowing that our efforts will be well utilized and maintained into the future by Olivewood Gardens.

Just as their community programs give back to the community long term, the legacy project will be able togive back to the community long term. With proven positive impact on the National City, CA community, Olivewood gardens remains a vital asset to the city. Because of Olivewood Gardens’ efforts, 91% of parents reported that their families are eating more fruits and vegetables. 83% of third grade students report that they are adventurous eaters and like to try new foods. 83% of teachers report that their students demonstrated environmentally consciousbehavior after their Olivewood Gardens field trip. 100% of Cooking for Salud graduates report they are confident sharing information about healthy eating with others in their community. 100% of high school internship participants report increased job readiness.

We, the Greenbuild San Diego Legacy Project Committee, are excited to assist them with their vision of inspiring youth and adults to be healthy and active citizens through organic gardening, environmental stewardship and nutrition education. The scope of Olivewood Gardens’ development of the new one acre plot of land includes produce gardens, food production, processing and washing, an outdoor kitchen, several gathering and seating spaces incorporated with shade, trails, community art installations, and various educational and sustainable elements such as an outdoor classroom, rainwater catchment, aquaculture, and grey water reuse.

The proposed legacy project would allow them to expand their capacity to grow food for their programs, help them to address food security in their community by growing food for the local school district and their donation-based produce stand, and increase educational opportunities - in particular to work with high school Sustainable Urban Agriculture Interns and community service volunteers to teach agricultural practices and sustainable use of the land.

Project Stakeholders

Olivewood Gardens Staff:

This project will be managed by the staff of Olivewood Gardens under the overall supervision of the Executive Director, Jen Nation. 

National School District:

Olivewood Gardens partners with the National School District to provide three field trips a year to Olivewood for all Fourth grade students. This gives the students the chance to observe the garden’s different growing seasons as well as learn about environmental and nutrition science, gardening, cooking and the full cycle of cultivating, preparing and eating fresh produce from the garden.

Teachers are provided training and support to help leverage school gardens as teaching toolsand to improve school wellness policies and initiatives.

Olivewood Gardens is providing fresh produce for the school district’s meal program. This is part of the overall effort to address issues of healthy food access, nutrition education andcommunity engagement in the National School District system. 

National City Community:

Olivewood Gardens provides an eight week intensive adult education program focusing on building individual and community capacity for health through nutrition education, healthy cooking and leadership development.

Olivewood Gardens hosts a weekly donation-based produce stand stocked with fresh produce grown at the garden to address food security in the community. The garden is open to the public. 


Olivewood Gardens volunteers provide essential program, operational, and event support to Olivewood and include community members, retired teachers, chefs, master gardeners, public health professionals, nutrition professionals, college and high school students, educators, and corporate volunteer teams. Internships include Nutrition Education, Garden Education, Outdoor Education, Program Coordination, Special Events and Marketing, High School Urban Agriculture, High School Garden-2-Kitchen, and more.