School gardens have become great hands-on learning labs for many schools today. While growing food that may be used in school cafeterias, students also learn about the origins of their food, how seeds sprout into plants and conditions that make for healthy growing environments. If your school has the space for a garden or may have access to donated space nearby, your students may love the opportunity to get their hands dirty. It could also be incorporated into your school wellness plan.
There are a wealth resources to help you get your garden started, many of which are compiled in the National Farm-to-School Network resource library. Browse the available resources for yourself or check the following as a starting point:
The Little Falls School District has one of the most successful garden-to-cafeteria programs in Minnesota, and quite possibly, the country. In this video, District Superintendent Stephen Jones credits the district's robust school garden program for enabling it to add salad bars to all five of its schools. In the first month, about one-third of the district's elementary students were eating salad.
"Kids learning more about their own food has started giving them more ownership about the food they put into their bodies," he said. "This is us as a school district saying this is important to us - the health and well-being of your child is important enough to us that we're going to put this out on the line and create meaningful partnerships and come up with something that should help your children not only today but well into the future."
Also, if you're in need of funding to establish your school garden, explore these grants: