Edible school gardens can be a great link into farm to school programs. Edible gardens shouldn’t necessarily be created to provide school meals with fresh veggies—this can be an overwhelming task for teachers, parents and students.
However, edible gardens are great ways to teach children about how food grows, and make excellent learning labs. Garden-based nutrition education is a strong tool for getting kids to try and prefer fresh fruits and vegetables—so by the time they reach the school cafeteria, they will be requesting and choosing these foods.
Tips for creating an edible school garden
- School Garden Planting Guide: Know what to plant, when, and how much.
- Wooly School Gardens: Go out in the sunshine and play in the dirt. Sounds like recess, but it’s a Woolly School Garden, an outdoor classroom and a chance for students K-12 to grow while learning about gardening and nutrition.
- Starting a Garden Video: This video about raised beds was made by David Berle, an associate professor of horticulture at University of Georgia. It is a quick and dirty version of the entire garden process.
- How to Build a Raised Bed: These written instructions are an easy how-to for creating your own raised beds.
Funding a school garden
- Grants: Check out our Farm to School grants page for updated funding opportunities.
- eBite Newsletter: Sign up to receive the most recent grant funding information every month.
- Environmental Education in Georgia: This group provides resources for grant information.
- Government Funds:Check out this page for additional possible grants that the government funds.
- Herb Garden Grant: Want an herb garden? The Herb Society of America can fund one!
- Green Education Foundation and Gardener’s Supply Company: These folks have teamed up on an exciting funding opportunity for established youth garden projects nationwide! The organizations are calling on schools and youth groups to submit chronicles of their garden projects. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community.
- Fuel Up to Play 60: This nationwide competitive funding program helps K-12 schools jump-start and sustain school wellness activities and initiatives. The program provides seed money to help Fuel up to Play 60 educators make their schools a healthier place!
Sustaining a school garden
- How to Integrate Farm to School into a Wellness Policy: Farm to School activities dovetail perfectly into the federally mandated wellness policies that each district needs to write and implement. This sample policy provides helpful suggestions and wording.
- Sample Budgets: This guide includes three sample budgets for schools to use as a guide to when planning and building a school garden.
What to plant in the school garden
- Georgia Planting Guide: This planting guide will help you know what to put in the ground when!
- Georgia Harvesting Guide: This guide will help you know when to harvest! Many Georgia farmers and growers were consulted when creating these guides.
- Edible Orchards: Fruit trees, vines, and berry bushes can be great additions to a school garden. They are low maintenance and will feed and educate students for years to come. This guide from the Atlanta Local Food Initiative has suggestions for varieties that work well at schools.
Connecting the edible school garden to classroom activities
- Lesson Plans for Elementary Students: Georgia Organics has created this F2S sample curriculum for elementary students.
- Curriculum for High School Students: These lessons are especially good for Ag Education classes.
- Farm to School and Educational Garden Programs Guide: This resource guide, created by Georgia Organics and PLACE, provides tips on how to get started, suggested classroom readings, garden themes, sample kid-friendly recipes and tips on growing and maintaining a school garden.
- The Edible Schoolyard Project: The edible schoolyard program began in Berkeley, California. Now there are edible schoolyards all over the country, including in Atlanta! Check out these valuable resources from the original edible schoolyard program.
- Join us for our next farm to school for Educators workshop! To find out when the next one is offered, or to set one up for your school or district, contact Erin Croom at Erin@georgiaorganics.org.
Eating out of the school garden
- Chef to School Toolkit: This guide was created by Georgia Organics and The Mendez Foundation. It provides cooking activities that were designed for kids of all ages and skill levels. Additionally there are grade appropriate lessons which connect gardening to curriculum. Finally, there is a section devoted to research supporting the benefits of edible gardens in schools.
- Food Safe School Gardening: The University of Connecticut came up with this quick guide for food safety issues in school gardens.
- Edible Garden in Durham, North Carolina: Check out what this school is doing.
- Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: National chef Jamie Oliver has created quite a stir in the school food world. Check out tools from his Food Revolution.
- Can School Gardens Help Prevent Obesity? This study thinks they can!