Urban Seeds


Initiated by Mexican immigrant students, the film highlights the story of a school-based garden movement’s extraordinary passion and fight for food justice in urban Los Angeles and how this grassroots program transformed their neighborhoods and schools into healthier communities becoming the first of its kind in the United States.

School Grown Movement

In 1993, a group of 8th grade immigrant students planted an idea with Mrs. Eva Cupchoy, the instructional assistant in their class, which became the catalyst to begin a vegetable garden at Bell Gardens Intermediate School (BGI), under the guidance of teacher, Mr. John Garza.  Thus, began a program that not only brought students together as a group, but also created something that eventually would encompass more than just growing vegetables and beautifying schools; it became a movement that transformed the health of LA communities.

Award-Winning Documentary

Launched in 2019, the documentary is an award-winning film to raise awareness about: school-based gardening, healthy eating, urban farming, and community empowerment.  The documentary embodies heart-filled and emotional stories of families, educators, community leaders and youth coming together to transform their communities into healthier spaces.  This film immerses the audience into the lives of the School Grown Movement members, recounting the journey, struggles, and triumphs as they continue to fight for food justice in urban Los Angeles.

Workshops & Film Screenings

Teaching workshops on Food Justice & the School Grown Movement and Film Festival Screenings

In the Media

Our Creative Team

Eva Cupchoy, Co-Founder of the School Grown Movement

John Garza, Co-Founder of the School Grown Movement

Dr. Lani Cupchoy,  Executive Producer, Producer, Writer, Creator

Dr. Lani Cupchoy is a Public Historian-Artivist-Photographer-Filmmaker whose research focuses on Chicanx-Latinx Studies, Ethnic and Gender Studies, United States Transnational/Global History, History of the Americas, Asian American-Pacific Island Studies, Indigenous knowledge, Critical Food Studies, Oral History, Visual & Digital Storytelling, and Critical Civic Engagement, particularly through social and cultural expressions by people of color. As a University educator with K-18 teaching experience since 1997 as well as a PAGE Fellow (2009), UC Diversity Fellow (2008) and CSU Chancellors Fellow (2007), she has authored several publications including “Fragments of Memory” in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies (2010) and “Breaking the University Myth” in Diálogo (2018). Lani is also an award-winning filmmaker of Truth Seekers (2016), Urban Seeds (2019), Food Medicine (2020), and Aloha Soul Food (2022), documentaries that illuminate the power of activism, community engagement, and social justice. A former elected school board member for Montebello Unified, she led important grassroots policy-making initiatives including the K-12 ethnic studies requirement, extension of the Dual Language Immersion Program to include both Spanish and Mandarin, LGBTQIA+ support and all-gender restrooms, and the expansion of school-based gardens (28 schools total) throughout the district. Dr. Cupchoy is currently completing her book Hawaiian LA: Public Culture, Community, Memory and Collectivity as well as her upcoming documentary Islandtrification.

Adam Steel, Director, Editor

Adam Steel is a Los Angeles based filmmaker who has spent the last 10 years supporting grass-roots organizations tell their story. He values the human narrative and is passionate about preserving and presenting these stories in a real and impactful way. Adam appreciates projects that are creating positive and lasting change both locally and globally and is currently involved in social impact projects raising awareness for mental health, incarceration, education, indigenous preservation, and social justice. He was editor of the feature documentary Project 22, which addresses the veteran suicide epidemic (on pbs.org) and continues to merge film and philanthropy through his company Grow Awareness Agency.