The SPORT of starting a sustainable school garden at your campus

After working with schools around the country, we’ve learned there’s a SPORT to starting a school garden project. The tips below will help you create a thriving school garden project that is successful and sustainable!

Start small – make it easy

A smaller garden is easier and less expensive to start. Know that even a 4’x4′ garden can be a meaningful and a huge success.
We recommend:  Follow a simple & proven method to create your school garden:
Getting Materials  Infographic   Video      Building the Garden  Infographic  Video

Plan ahead – create sustainability

Beyond the initial energy and enthusiasm of having a garden, make plans of how/when it will fit into the curriculum, what will be grown and how it will be maintained.
We recommend: The step-by-step Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! curriculum. The questions above and more answered in easy-to-follow 2 lessons per week study that involves students in every step. This research, evidence-based curriculum will not only benefit your students, it will help grow sustainability.
LGEG Curriculum  Learn more about curriculum    Purchase curriculum 

Others ensure success – share ownership

Solicit involvement of parents, volunteers and other supporters. Parent/volunteer solicitation letters and emails can help tap the talents and resources of interested folks around you. Most importantly involve kids at every step. Don’t do it for them (building the garden, planting, harvesting, etc.) Let them grow and learn by doing!
We recommend:  Volunteer solicitation letters, emails.
Sample Volunteer Solicitation Letter  English (LGEG, p.177)     Spanish (LGEG, p.178)

Recognize efforts – cultivate awareness & success

Recognize students’ efforts, build them up and even reward them with certifications. Build community awareness and school pride when you share about their good work with parents/others. Create a culture of gratitude in your class where students are regularly expressing appreciation for those supporting the garden project.
We recommend:  Forming a committee of students within the class whose main task is send thank you notes to recognize others’ contributions (see Rules Are Rules & Schedule It building student committees lesson, p.38).
LGEG Curriculum  Learn more about curriculum    Purchase curriculum  

Teachable moments – look for them

Look for unexpected, teachable moments that arise during the course of having a garden project!
We recommend: Make the process of learning and relevant, meaningful experience the priority over getting to the next task. Exciting moments (like the first green balls forming on a tomato plant or butterflies emerging) AS WELL AS  garden problems (like damage from weather conditions or flowers popping from broccoli because harvesting was postponed) are all unique opportunities for important, memorable lessons!
Tag us to share your teachable moments with other teachers on JMG Social Media  Facebook     Twitter     Instagram



CoopExt, eXtension4U, Grow, JMG_Lisa, JMGkids, Junior Master Gardener, LearnGrowEatGo, LGEG, school garden

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