Category Archives: School Garden News

NEA’s Green Across America School Garden Funding – 7/30 deadline

Engage and inspire your K-12 students to increase sustainable, earth-friendly behavior in their neighborhoods and communities.

NEA’s Green Across America grants of up to $1,000 are available to help you implement your innovative education program, activity, lesson or event to excite students about going green, caring for the earth and creating a sustainable future.

The Green Across America Program is sponsored by Target, which proudly supports K-12 schools through innovative giving programs.

How to Apply
Click the “Apply Now” link to begin the online application.

The application must be completed in one session. You will not be able to save your responses and return to them later.

If you would like to prepare your application responses before beginning the online application, you can download a Grant Application Worksheet (.doc, 386K). The worksheet contains all the application questions to help you plan and write your responses. Please note: Only online grant applications will be accepted for this program.

All applications must be submitted online by July 30, 2010.
Please see the complete rules for details.

Venice HS Learning Garden

Gardens evolve. All gardens, school or otherwise, season to season, year to year, they grow, they change, and with the proper care, they prosper.  The “Learning Garden” at Venice High School has been evolving and prospering for more than 15 years.

Back in 1995 horticulture/landscape teacher Diane Pollock “inherited” a weed-ridden one acre property that was more home to feral cats and vagrants than it was to living plants. In collaboration with Garden Master David King and numerous community volunteers they have created one of the show-piece school gardens in America.

Today, the students are enriched by the various gardens that surround them. There’s a Chinese Herb and Medicinal Plant Garden, a Mediterranean Garden, a Fruit Orchard, a Rose Demonstration Garden, a Grape Arbor, and the U.C.L.A. Ornamental Garden.

A California native plant section has been lovingly created and cared for by Christine Walker.

Agricultural plots are tended to for organic vegetables. Compost piles teach sustainability.

One exciting recent development is the Culinary Arts and Sustainable Agriculture Academy (CASAA) created by teacher Tina Gruen. This new venture takes the garden a giant step forward by developing a complete “farm to fork” concept.  Students not only grow their food, but are taught how to prepare it as well. The entire process from seed to table can now be experienced first hand.

The Learning Garden’s famous potuck lunches on Fridays just got a whole lot tastier!

Westminster School Garden Keeps on Growing

Nora Dvosin and Nancy Giffin began the Westminster Elementary School Garden (WE Garden) in Venice, CA in 2004/05. Amid a sea of asphalt they have doggedly carved themselves a thriving oasis.

The WE garden has grown over the years tripling its original size and now includes a new kindergarten area complete with flowering pear trees that will be espaliered along the fence.

The organic learning garden is fully integrated into student/classroom curriculum including: art, science, social science, language, history, & math.

For example, the colonial garden not only teaches history but replicates a colonial era kitchen garden with the same plants and herbs that were grown at that time.

Students are also able to participate in a “seed-to-table” experience through a partnership with long time Los Angeles chef (and school neighbor), Joe Miller of Joe’s Restaurant on Abbot Kinney.

In exchange for cooking classes that Joe performs in the garden, the WE garden dedicates one bed to Joe’s Restaurant and grows whatever Chef decides. Currently there are Okinowan spinach, Caribbean thyme, 3 different kinds of peppers, and a feathery cilantro variety.

School never tasted so good.

Pitchfork – Seedlings for School and Community Gardens

PITCHFORK. If you never been you should go.
If you’ve been you’re probably returning.

Mud Baron and his crew are again giving away 30,000 organic vegetable, herb and ornamental seedlings plus free compost and free potting soil.

Saturday, 5/15,
Sylmar High School , 13050 Borden Ave., Sylmar 91342
(Garden entrance on Raven – Past Borden)

New Life for Paterson’s Eastside Park Greenhouse

City Green and Eastside Neighborhood Association Launch Greenhouse Program

March 29, 2010–Paterson, NJ – City Green, an urban community garden and educational programming organization, in partnership with the Eastside Neighborhood Association, has begun their program at the Greenhouse at Eastside Park made available to the groups by the city of Paterson.

The greenhouse, located near the Department of Public Works building in the park will be used to grow flower and vegetable starter plants for City Green’s  Learning Garden and many new community gardens and programs throughout the city.

“We are grateful to the city and the Department of Public Works for allowing us use of this valuable resource and for preparing it for our use by cleaning it out and installing new lighting,” said Jennifer Papa, Executive Director of City Green.

“Planting is underway and we now have the capacity to grow two hundred and forty flats of vegetables, herbs, and flowers,” she continued.

We will also use the plantings for our beautification programs, “Green Your Block” and “Backyard Gardeners” educating community members in neighborhood beautification techniques and home hardening efforts.

City Green, who has developed educational garden programs and environmental clubs throughout the Paterson school system will offer opportunities to high school interns and youth groups to work with plantings in the Greenhouse  throughout the year.

“Now we will be looking for volunteers to help at the Greenhouse and our other community gardens.” said Ms. Papa.

For more information about the Greenhouse contact City Green at 973-800-8197, or email:
or visit

City Green Inc. is a non-profit 501 c 3 community garden and educational programming organization based in Wyckoff, New Jersey.  It offers practical, technical and financial support to revitalize urban communities through gardening.

Saturn Elementary School Garden Groundbreaking & Kickoff Party

You’re all invited! I’ll be there representing National Gardening Association. Come out and say hi!

Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010
Time: 8:30am – 12:30pm
Location: Saturn Street Elementary School
Street: 5360 Saturn Street
City/Town: Los Angeles, CA

The Rings of Saturn are delighted to announce that Saturn has won a 2010 Give Back to Gro grant from Keep America Beautiful and Scott’s Miracle Gro Company. Finally, it’s time to build the garden!! The event will start (at 8:30am) with Mayor Villaraigosa’s presentation of a proclamation for the school, followed by a celebration of the NEW Saturn Edible Garden with activities for the whole family:

– Help build planter boxes and plant seeds and plants in the school’s new outdoor classroom
– Paint garden signs and create flower headbands
– Walk the Saturn Master Plan to ‘experience’ how the Saturn playground will be transformed into a community park!
– Enjoy lunch with your neighbors after a great morning of service

We’re also proud to announce that produce from the new Saturn Give Back to Gro garden will be donated to the First Presbyterian Church food pantry as part of our partnership with Plant a Row for the Hungry.

Also, Come and get tickets to the Chivas USA soccer game on March 26 against the Colorado Rapids!

10 Ways to Integrate School Gardens into Arts, Science, and Math

1) Make a scarecrow. See Atlanta Botanical Gardens 2009 Scarecrow Winners for inspiration.

2) Paint a sign. Nothing says Our Garden like a freshly painted sign. See 25 photos of garden signs from Life Lab.

3) Build a trellis. Trellises are needed throughout the year to support such vegetables as peas, pole beans, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, and gourds. See trellis as art from Maine artist, Paul Jurutka.

4) Make a germinator to showcase germination process (see video.)

5) Read Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. Some have turned the book into a school play. Others were inspired to make a movie.

6) Keep a journal. For scientific purposes we want to track the following: what we’re growing, when did we sow seeds, how long did the seeds take to germinate, how often do we water, how long does a plant take to mature (from seed to harvest), how big does a plant get (height and width), and how much does it yield.

Many other scientific experiments may be initiated with results tracked in a journal.  See Conducting an Experiment from

7) Plant seeds of lettuce or cilantro and observe the different plant stages. Reserve one plant to be saved for seed. These plants (all annuals) will flower and seed within the school year. Students can observe the entire lifecycle of a plant (seed-to-seed), as well as learn to collect seeds for the following seasons.

8) Collect bugs and insects into a terrarium and observe their habitat and behavior.

9) For math students, examples of gardening equations:
a) If a row is 8 ft long and we space our carrots 3 inches apart how many carrots can we grow in one row?
b) Our pole beans grow 8 inches a week. How many feet will they be after 12 weeks?
c) My raised bed is 4ft x 8 ft x 1ft. How many bags of dirt (2 cubic feet each) does it take to fill the raised bed?

10) For more inspiration see School Garden Potpourri of Ideas