Building Relationships Through School Gardens Presentation Outline by Caitlin Blethen of Growing Gardens, Portland
Building Relationships through Gardens
Farm to Cafeteria Conference, March 21 , 2009
Presented by Caitlin Blethen, Youth Grow Manager, Growing Gardens www.growing-gardens.org
Title: Experiential education: After-School Garden Club Program Connecting Garden,
School & Cafeteria
Summary: This workshop will provide participants with a model that connects after-school garden
clubs, school community and the cafeteria. Participants will engage in small group activities to
develop strategies to encourage garden to classroom to cafeteria projects in their communities.
Description: Growing Gardens Youth Grow program partners with low income schools to provide
after-school food gardening clubs as well as to provide support and guidance for school
communities to develop long-lasting garden programs. Youth Grow supports Portland Public
School’s Harvest of the Month campaign.
After attending this workshop, the attendee will be able to:
Identify three successful ways to make connections between a garden, classroom (or after-school
class) and cafeteria.
Identify common challenges of coordinating a school garden project.
Conduct an asset map of their school garden project.
About Growing Gardens – 5 minutes
Home Garden program
Youth Grow program
Case Study: Kelly Elementary
History of partnership: Growing Gardens, Kelly Elementary, Portland Public Schools Nutrition
services & Kelly SUN program – 10 minutes
• Develop after-school programming
• Develop gardens
• Engaging school community
Successes of connecting garden, classroom & cafeteria– 10 minutes
• Winter squash promotion (after-school program, Harvest of the Month)
• School wide salad project (class teachers, after-school program, cafeteria)
• Integrating in to curriculum (in-class, taste test)
Challenges – 5 minutes
• Lack of coordination
• Outside-in approach
• School ‘readiness’
Asset mapping Activity - 30 minutes
1. On large sheet, draw a circle in the middle and write “Garden Project”
2. On the outside edges of the paper write the names of partners or potential partners your group
identified and draw a box around each of them
3. Brainstorm ways that each partner can help an educational garden. For example, the school
cafeteria could serve/highlight a fresh fruit or vegetable that is or could be growing or being
planted in the school garden. Another example: police department could be a potential partner
that might be willing to include the garden site on its neighborhood check route or to donate funds
from the local police athletic league fund.
4. Draw an arrow connecting each partner to the community garden box – the way you envision
5. Brainstorm what the garden can offer each partner. For example, the garden could be
harvested to add to the salad bar or be an alternative to violence for young people in the
* From American Community Gardening Association Growing Communities Curriculum – asset-based
community development (pg 106)