How to Launch Your School Garden

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How to Launch Your School Garden …

How to Launch Your School Garden
For more information, Please see websites below:
Organic Edible Schoolyards & Gardening with Children
Double Food Production from your School Garden with Organic Tech
Free School Gardening Art Posters`
Companion Planting Increases Food Production from School Gardens
Healthy Foods Dramatically Improves Student Academic Success
City Chickens for your Organic School Garden
Simple Square Foot Gardening for Schools - Teacher Guide

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  • 1. How to Launch Your School Garden IDENTIFY STAKEHOLDERS AND A VISION 1. Build administrative support 2. Know your facts about school garden benefits 3. Engage the teachers in the planning process; assess their needs to be sure garden will be useful 4. Assess students’ needs; form a student garden club or committee (for planning and involvement) 5. Identify or hire a school garden coordinator (either dedicated staff or teacher who will take on extra) 6. Convene and advisory board or garden committee. This is a diverse group of people who will ensure the garden program's long term success. It should be comprised of an administrator, a teacher, a student, a community member, a member of the custodial and /or cafeteria staff and a local business partner. CREATE AN EFFECTIVE DESIGN Include all stakeholders in the design process. Consider soil quality, water availability, sunlight. Including the following elements in our garden design, no matter how big or small, will ensure maximum usage: Elements of a sustainable garden: edible beds, native plant and pollinator garden, herbs, shade, seating area, compost area, tool storage, signage for each area, map of whole grades, posted rules and procedures, water source. Raised beds or in-ground? Raised beds are more materials intensive up front, but ensure high quality soil for great results. Make sure to use materials safe for growing food (no pressure-treated wood or tires!) FUNDRAISE Create an annual operating budget. The first year will be significantly more than subsequent years. A good goal is to have the garden program become a PTA budget line. Many items can be donated from individuals, local businesses and other agencies. See attached resources for ideas. Expenses related to building a new garden program: water system, soil testing, compost and wood chips, raised bed kits or lumber and labor, tools, compost system, signage, seeds or seedlings, staffing, contracted services, curricular resources (books) Ongoing yearly expenses: staffing, soil amendments, compost and wood chips, seeds and seedlings, miscellaneous materials for repair and improvement CONNECT YOUR GARDEN TO THE CURRICULUM 1. dedicated school garden teacher 2. teachers use garden independently 3. outside sourcing (contractors) **Be sure to consider how the school garden lessons will reinforce grade-level standards. This is essential in getting teachers on board to teach garden-based lessons or spend class time outdoors.
  • 2. DEVELOP A PLANTING AND MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE Having one person oversee the maintenance and planting schedule for the garden is optimal.  School year maintenance o school garden coordinator oversees maintenance plan o each grade/class adopts a section of the grade to maintain o make sure to develop a plan for using the produce you grow (cafeteria, taste testing, snacks, send home with students)  Summer maintenance o parents, volunteers, or community members adopting a section and/or week to maintain garden in exchange for harvest (google docs can be useful for signing up/monitoring) o develop a plan for using the produce you grow SUSTAINING YOUR PROGRAM  Work to get school or PTA financial support by creating a specific, realistic annual budget  A dedicated school garden coordinator will be the easiest way to sustain your program. o This person can write grants, ensure your schools participation in Farm to School week, School Garden Week, DCSG website, maintain a blog or website about the program, create and maintain effective signage, and coordinate volunteers and summer maintenance.  Host events in your garden to thank your community partners and volunteers.  Clear signage is crucial for informing the community and getting them involved  Consider incorporating a community garden on the school grounds. RESOURCES Books with great, inquiry-based garden and nutrition science lessons: Grow Lab: Activities for Growing Minds, National Gardening Association Growing Food, (LiFE) Linking food and the Environment, an Inquiry-based Science and Nutrition Program Free online curriculum for your classroom and garden: Growing Healthy Habits, University of MD, Sprouting Healthy Kids, Sustainable Food Center, health-kids/program-resources Local Garden-Based Education Organizations Washington Youth Garden: City Blossoms: DC Greens: DCSG: DCEEC: Upcoming Trainings: March 23-24 Growing Garden Teachers Spring Workshop