History Continues to Grow at Rio Hondo School
“All of the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of yesterday” reads the sign planted in the newly dedicated Marshburn Farm at Rio Hondo School.
Reminiscence reflected in the eyes of Don Marshburn as he described the early days of the farm he grew up on. The history of the farm goes back 75 years. Started in 1941 by three Marshburn brothers, Cliff (Don’s father), Frank and Bill - the farm grew to hundreds of acres. It stretched from Tyler Avenue to just south of Live Oak right up to the Arcadia Wash. They grew mostly onions, cabbage, carrots and parsley. Their produce was sold to commercial outlets including the Ralphs grocery chain and the still operational Los Angeles produce market. In the 1950s the Marshburn family donated the farmland so that housing could be built for returning war veterans.
When teacher Erin Brown heard about the remarkable history that had taken place right under the buildings of Rio Hondo School, she knew she had to do something about it. She had the idea to start a garden in honor of the Marshburn family. Brown happens to sponsor the Rio Hondo Student Health Council – so the garden was a perfect fit!
Eighth grader and Student Health Council President, Josh Luutuyen, welcomed the garden dedication attendees who included Honoree Don Marshburn, El Monte City School District Board Member Jennifer Cobian, Assistant Superintendent Steve Sallenbach and Principal Alba Zamora-Day.
Eighth grader Gursharan Takhar spoke of the vision for the garden. He said the future Marshburn Garden will be larger (when a building is moved), native plants and flowers will be planted and most importantly, younger students will be invited to help in the garden. Consequently, the garden will be used as a teaching garden.
Retired teacher Nancy Thomas’ student quilting club made custom quilted coasters to commemorate the event. Tim Thomas, Nancy’s husband, also helps out with the garden.
“This is a community project with of a lot of people who help out. I am very grateful,” said Brown.
Sallenbach said, “This garden is a wonderful way to honor the history and legacy of the Marshburn Family. We look forward to seeing this garden getting bigger with a lot of student learning going on.”
Marshburn ended the dedication ceremony by telling the students, “Get used to putting your hands in the dirt. There’s nothing like it.”