According to the 2018 Massachusetts School Health Profiles, more than 40 percent of middle and high school students have planted a school garden. Gardens are a great way for students to learn about how their food grows and is harvested, and provide an interactive, hands-on approach to education.
Benefits of a School Garden
Not all children have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and as a result, can be reluctant to consume fresh produce due to limited exposure. School gardens allow for all students to work together to plant and oversee the growth of fresh produce of their choice. When students are invested in the harvest of fresh produce, they understand the process and are more likely to consume the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor!
How to Start Gardening in Your School
If you are a parent and are interested in starting a garden, talk to administrators and teachers and receive approval. Determine the best space in the school for the garden; whether that is inside a classroom or if there is room for garden plots outside.
Is there a gardening club in your school? If so, ask if you can volunteer. Many schools need volunteers during the summer to help maintain gardens. If there is not a gardening club, ask for permission to start one.
For more information on how to get started, check out the resources below:
Action for Healthy Kids School Garden Overview
Funding Opportunities for a School Garden
Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant Program: Applications are open during the spring for grades K-12.
Massachusetts Ag in the Classroom: Awards mini grants to educators for agricultural education projects.
Gardening Lesson Plans
USDA Team Nutrition offers a variety of lesson plans on gardening, farming and nutrition education. These free, downloadable lesson plans include student handouts and parent booklets to engage everyone!