Category Archives: School Garden News

School Gardens in the News

1) Cookeville, TN
Butterfly garden opens at Park View, provides unique educational experience

A horticultural dream came true in recent weeks for one Park View Elementary teacher. Kindergarten teacher Beverly Hall is a Putnam County Master Gardener and appreciates the physical, emotional and mental value of working in the outdoors, so she envisioned what is now the butterfly garden in the back corner of the Park View playground, hoping it will aid in students’ well-being.

2) Medham, NJ
Mendham High School growing own vegetables

West Morris Mendham High School students will plant warm-weather crops on Tuesday at the school’s first outdoor classroom – a 24-foot by 26-foot vegetable garden located on school property. The vegetables will be used by the students in the culinary arts classes.

3) Flint, MI
Students turn school space into garden of plenty

The project is funded by a $500 grant from Keep Genesee County Beautiful. Students also sold flower bulbs to help offset expenses.

4) Portland, OR
Hazelbrook students garden for those in need

The seventh graders at Hazelbrook Middle School hope their garden outside Eileen MacPherson’s classroom will help the local food pantry meet its increased demand for food – and balance out the bread, rice and pasta on its shelves.

5) Beverly, MA
After-school club plants their veggies — and they’ll eat them, too

Anyone who thinks children don’t like vegetables never met the kids in the Beverly Bootstraps after-school program.

6) Wooster, OH
IB students plan to donate produce harvested from garden

It can’t hurt to take time out from a demanding academic schedule for a hands-on activity in an outdoor setting. In fact, international baccalaureate students studying at Wooster High School anticipate their garden in the school’s backyard will help. Their goal is to offer community service — a component of their degree program — through donating the produce they harvest.

7) Kalaheo, HI
Students’ harvest plants seeds for the future

Money is a great motivator for kids, said Kalaheo School third grade teacher Clyde Hashimoto. “When they see money, they get interested,” Hashimoto said in an invitation to watch the Kalaheo School third grade students harvest vegetables.

School Gardens in the News

1) Sonoma, CA
School gardens flourishing in the valley
Experts preach the benefits of fresh air, sunshine and exercise as part of every child’s daily life. In Sonoma, schools have picked up on the research, even carrying it into the curriculum by making time for outdoor activities. One of the best ways to accomplish this – gardening.

2) Rogers, AR
Children’s Garden goes green at Jones Elementary School
A unique group of volunteers joined forces to lay the groundwork for a Children’s Garden at Russell D. Jones Elementary School.

3) Cambridge, MA
Every day is Earth Day in the school garden
CitySprouts school garden program has helped kids plant seeds and harvest vegetables all over the city for the past nine years. Each year, as CitySprouts has forged partnerships with additional schools, more and more of the city’s children are learning about food- and sharing what they know.

4) Cazenovia, WI
Students Growing Produce for School Lunch Room
A local school district is teaming-up with the community to help kids, teachers and parents go green year round by growing fresh produce.

5) Asheville, NC
Growing little gardeners
If they grow it, they will eat it. That’s the unfailing testimony from farmers and gardeners who’ve witnessed the remarkable phenomenon of a child lighting up with joy as he bites into a head of broccoli or giggling at the feel of bright red beet juice running down her chin.

6) Queen Creek, AZ
Grants given to schools to help kids eat healthy
The district’s nutrition director, Michelle Swendseid, said the inspiration for this garden actually stemmed from a special fresh fruit and vegetable program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Swendseid said kids and teachers enjoyed the greens and fruits so much they took the idea to new heights and decided to try growing food in the school yard.

7) London, England, UK
Digging for victory: Schools back gardens plan
Today, The Independent on Sunday, working with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), launches a campaign to Let Children Grow. The campaign aims to get all primary schools in the UK to provide some form of practical gardening for pupils.

8) Escondido, CA
Teacher, students create native-plant garden at their school
San Marcos Middle School now has a native-plant garden that will provide ongoing lessons in water-wise landscaping, thanks to the efforts of a teacher and some of his students.

School Gardens in the News

1) San Diego, CA
Organic garden offers a hands-on experience

Walk up the steps from parking lot H at the corner of 14th and C streets to San Diego City College and you’ll find an organic farm nestled between the campus Learning Resource Center and the Saville Theatre. The water-guzzling lawn that once covered a vast expanse of the college’s landscape is now occupied by a lush garden featuring a variety of organically grown plants, fruit trees and vegetables such as chicory greens, Swiss chard, ruby mustards and bok choy.

2) Sioux Falls, SD
Students plant community garden

You could hear the drums from three blocks away.
The Lincoln Drumline, Lowell Elementary students, teachers and others gathered on the school playground celebrating the kick-off of the new community garden, officially named “A Growing Place.”
The initiative is a partnership between the Sioux Falls School District, the Sioux Falls Seminary, Minnehaha Extension Service and others to foster community spirit in Pettigrew Heights. The goal is to empower families to nurture their community, organizers say.

3) Maui, HI
An Edible Education

In an effort to plant the seeds of sustainability and conservation, South Maui Sustainability (SMS) volunteers helped students at Kīhei Elementary School fund, design, build and maintain edible gardens right on campus. And while these island youth learned the benefits of community gardening, they also enjoyed a fun, educational—and tasty— experience.

4) United Kingdom
Young people’s garden designs brought to life by Bramall Construction

Ten-year-old Megan Morris has ‘got the picture’ on the way her school’s garden should look…
So much so that the youngster’s drawings of the garden at Thorne Brooke Primary, Thorne, have been turned into reality by workmen at Bramall Construction.

5) Birmingham, AL
Birmingham Botanical Gardens program helps disabled Alabamians through horticulture therapy

Wander across the rear garden at Hewitt-Trussville High School, and you might wonder why it looks a bit different than most.
The garden’s three beds are raised, significantly. There are benches, affixed to one side of each bed’s four wooden sides, and the spaces between each bed are considerable.

6) Raceland, LA
Grant helps Raceland students grow garden

There are rose gardens and herb gardens, but what grows in an “incentive garden?”
At the moment, the small fenced-in garden at the Lafourche Parish School Board’s Positive Action School Site in Raceland lies fallow.
But thanks to a $500 national grant won for the school by the Lafourche Farm Bureau, students who stay focused and out of trouble at the school for expelled or suspended students will get the benefit of sunshine and watching vegetables grow under their care.

7) Washington, DC
The First Garden Gets Its First Planting

The international press may have been exclusively interested in what Michelle Obama was wearing on her first trip abroad last week. But the first lady said that the world leaders she met were curious about something else entirely: “The number one question I got as the first lady from world leaders — they were excited about this garden,” she told a group of students who had come to help seed the new 1,100 square foot plot on the South Lawn. “Every single person from Prince Charles on down, they were excited we were planting this garden.”

School Garden News – Nevada

Area schools plant gardens to teach science and nutrition
Teachers want students to learn how to eat healthy

By James Haug Las Vegas Review Journal

How do you get kids to eat fruits and vegetables?

With a shovel and rake.

Gardens are not only useful for teaching science. They also teach children how to eat.

“Research suggests that children who participate in gardening projects are more often willing to consume vegetables that they grow,” said Patricia Lau, the program administrator of Project HOPE (Healthy Options for Prevention and Education), a three-year obesity study in Clark County schools by the University Medical Center.

Lau would like to show students at Martin Middle School, which has 70 percent Hispanic enrollment at 200 N. 28th St. near Eastern Avenue, how to grow tomatoes, chives and jalapenos so they can make their own salsa.

Improving diet and exercise has become critical since the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled to 12 percent since 1980, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is defined as 20 percent above a person’s ideal body weight.

Fran Gollmer, a science teacher at Gene Ward Elementary School, 1555 E. Hacienda Ave. near Maryland Parkway, has put students to work maintaining a 1-acre garden, thought to be the biggest school garden in the valley.

“The biggest problem we have is getting kids not to pick when it’s ripe. It tastes so good,” said Gollmer, who oversees a garden of carrots, snow peas, lettuce, peaches, pomegranates, almonds and other nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Ideally, she would like to send some produce home to students’ families. The garden is a family project since students tend to the garden during science class and lunch breaks and parents help take care of it over the summer.

Karyn Johnson, a community instructor with the Nevada Cooperative Extension, said there are more than 100 public and private schools with gardens in Clark County. She estimates 25 new school gardens are added every year. A behavioral school has a “therapy garden” to improve the mental health of its students.

At least one garden has gone indoors. Helen Stewart School, a special education school at 2375 E. Viking Road near Eastern, opened a 630-square-foot greenhouse in January.

School gardens do not have to be elaborate. Johnson said gardens don’t need much water if managed properly. Because of scarcity of resources, many schools plant “container gardens,” which might be a window-sill box, a ceramic planter or even a stack of old tires filled with dirt.

“You don’t have to be high-end,” Lau said. “You can use recyclables.”

Gollmer joked that the garden at Ward Elementary School is “funded through grants and people who feel sorry for me. There’s no money in the school budget.”

Because weeds were getting out of control this year, Gollmer said she sold $600 worth of popcorn to hire somebody to help with de-weeding. She has also gotten grants or donations from Wal-Mart, the Las Vegas Water Valley District and the Kiwanis Club.

High school service clubs and Boy Scouts working on their badges have also volunteered. The garden has nurtured 13 Eagle Scout projects.

Gollmer said all the work and expense is worth it considering that most of her students are apartment dwellers deprived of outdoor opportunities.

One boy who was raking some dirt pointed to a sprout in soil and asked her if it was a weed.

“No, that’s lettuce,” Gollmer said.

She said her students are so needy for nature that they treat the garden’s ladybugs like their pets.

Third-grader Ashley Ben-Rhouma, 9, was playing with a ladybug on March 31 that was tickling her arm.

“Don’t go up my shirt,” she pleaded with the bug.

Gollmer hopes the garden will whet students’ appetite for knowledge.

The garden has 4-feet-tall volcanoes made from chicken wire that emit “lava,” actually an explosive mix of Diet Coke and Mentos candy. Gollmer also buries “dinosaur bones” for her student paleontologists to discover.

On April 17, the garden will host an Earth Day celebration with 100 students coming from Nevada State College to put on demonstrations and explain exhibits as varied as composting and butterflies. They will bake s’mores in a solar oven.

Educators said students need to get their hands dirty.

“Children will never learn to respect the earth if they don’t get into the earth,” Johnson said.

Growing Minds: Installing An Educational Garden

I love a good success story, especially one that includes overcoming obstacles and coming out on top.  These are the stories that are a joy to publish.

Theresa Loe had been trying for three years to install a school garden at Center Street Elementary School in El Segundo, CA. In light of recent cutbacks she was hard pressed to find someone to step-up and help out.  She then found the local chapter of the Kiwanis Club who ended up coming through big time. Let his be lesson to all of us: never say die, never take no for an answer.

View the video below to see how it all came together, and be sure to visit Theresa’s blog, GardenFreshLiving.com , for her take on the day’s events.

Center Street School’s new garden from Borski Productions on Vimeo.

School Garden News – California

Helping young minds grow
By Lucia Constantine, student at Stanford University
MercuryNews.com

Ask a child today where his food comes from and he will be more likely to say a supermarket than the earth.

This ignorance is representative of the increasing disconnect between ourselves and the foods we eat. When it comes to eating, we are setting children up for failure by not providing them with the knowledge and the motivation to make informed choices about food. Children cannot be expected to know what they are not taught, and in most schools garden education is not an integral part of the curriculum. Yet by learning how to grow, harvest, and prepare fresh produce, they gain not only a deeper understanding of where food comes from but also an appreciation for food that tastes good and is good for you.

Garden education programs allow children to witness the miracle of transformation from seed to delicious meal. By involving them in every aspect of food production from planting seeds to tending the crops, and harvesting produce, children develop a sense of pride and ownership over the garden, which makes them more likely to try tasting the food they have grown and to value the food they eat.

Fruits and vegetables can be a hard sell, particularly to children. They rarely appear in television commercials nor do they come in brightly colored boxes. Given the established influence children have on their parents’ food purchases, advertising to children has become common practice in the food industry. The foods advertised are often high in fat and sugar but low in nutritional value. It’s unreasonable to expect children to demand healthy choices when they are continually flooded with images of junk food. A school garden represents an opportunity for children to get excited about eating fruits and vegetables. Because eating habits are established at an early age and contribute to later outcomes in health, it becomes increasingly important to teach children what to eat while they are still young.

Moreover, what’s going on in the garden or in the kitchen serves to reinforce what’s being taught in the classroom. Working in the garden or cooking in the kitchen can be both a hands-on activity and a lesson in history, math, biology or nutrition. Because food is such an integral part of living, lessons in the garden can be connected to almost any topic.

By making garden education part of the curriculum, every child can be exposed to the wonder and miracle of food production and enticed to enjoy more of the benefits of fresh produce. If your school does not have a garden education program, help them get started. Check out the Edible School Yard in Berkeley and Collective Roots in Palo Alto, two successful garden education programs in the Bay Area, for ideas and inspiration. Grants and funding for new projects are available through a variety of venues including the Environmental Protection Agency and Kidsgardening. If your school already has a garden education program, let those responsible for the program know how important it is and how greatly their efforts are appreciated.

School Garden News – Australia

School’s Patch is Popular
BY MEGAN GORREY, StGeorge.YourGuide.com.au

Green thumbs: Como Public School students. Picture: Lisa McMahon

A NEW vegetable patch on the grounds of Como Public School is sprouting with possibilities as students learn how to grow and harvest their own food.

The school garden was planted to teach children important lessons about healthy eating, the environment and sustainability.

Fresh produce from the garden will be used in the canteen and will be sold at the school’s regular market days.

School administration manager Beth Munro said students had been excited by planting and harvesting their own vegetables.

“They can have a hand in seeing real food grow, rather than just appear in the supermarket,” she said.

“They were so enthusiastic when they got to taste some of the foods for the first time.”

The garden was thought up by the school’s P & C committee and also contains marigolds.