Category Archives: School Garden News

Seed Sale from Botanical Interests

Botanical Interests, Inc., supplier of quality seeds to independent garden centers and health food grocery stores, is extremely interested in helping schools with their school gardens.

For schools needing NEW seed for their gardens, email for a 40% discount code off any seed purchased from

Include the name of your school and your contact information. Old or donated seed with poor germination is very discouraging to kids and teachers when it doesn’t germinate after so many hours of preparing a garden!

Also check out for easy, paperless seed school fundraisers.”

For more information about School Garden Fundraisers see my Q&A with Curtis Jones, President of Botanical Interests.

Botanical Interests

School Gardens in the News

1) Redlands, CA
School recognized for edible garden

Redlands High School’s special education students make meals from the produce they cultivate on-campus. Their work received an honorable mention Tuesday for the School Garden of the Year Award, by the California School Garden Network.

2) Denver, CO
Gardening uniting generations

Kathy Komarek, 61, steadies a pumpkin for Esther Hung Pai, 10, as she scrapes the seeds out. Toward the end, it gets too hard for Esther’s tiny hands to clean out her pumpkin, so Kathy takes over. Younger and older hands continue working in unison.
Through a program called Connecting Generations, those hands have been working together in unison at Harrington Elementary in the Cole neighborhood.

3) Turlock, CA
Elementary students take gardening to a new level

Second grader Amelia Boyd’s favorite part of the Julien Elementary Garden Celebration is the taste testing. Along with tasting the variety of plants, she  danced to garden songs, learned about nutrition, and studied the process of photosynthesis on Friday.
“I love the Garden Celebration because we get to sing garden songs and the tasting is going to be fun, but I hate pears,” Boyd said.

4) Liverpool, United Kingdom
How does your recycled school garden grow?

PUPILS at St Anne’s Primary School in Rock Ferry are set to benefit from a project to spruce up their garden.
They are using reclaimed timber, to create a pergola and planters, as well as recycled plants, stones and galvanised steel for seating.

5) Pittsburgh, PA
Carrick students raise butterflies, watch them take flight

“It’s called controlled chaos,” Principal Vincent Lewandowski said with a smile. With a whistle blow, he was quickly able to quiet the nearly 300 students in grades two through five assembled on the playground of Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Roosevelt Elementary.
On a sunny morning last week, the students were anxiously awaiting the release of 60 monarch butterflies raised at the school’s intermediate campus in Carrick.

6) Palm Springs, CA
Forget bag lunch; students grow theirs

Col. Mitchell Paige Middle School students will plant their own produce in their new community garden this year.
Work on the 2,400-square-foot garden at the northeast edge of the school started last week.

City Green is Greening the City

City Green is a non-profit community garden organization currently working in Paterson, New Jersey.  Their “City Sprouts” program addresses the need for in school and after-school enrichment in the Paterson Public Schools, educating children on the environment, nutrition, and how to grow fresh healthy food. This following is an overview of City Green’s programs for the current school year.


The School 9 Cougars Go Green club, along with clubs in Schools 12 and 16 are in their second year of Environmental Club programming. School 7 begins its third year with science teacher Marla Arrington directing. All the clubs are supported throughout the year by City Green’s staff and materials.

This year the school programming reaches ten schools, and all ten club directors have received the newly developed City Green Environmental Club Manual, called “Make a Difference”, which contains guidelines and instructions for a full year of programming.  The teams have begun recruiting club members and making plans for the year.


Using the manual instructions, each club will begin or expand a recycling program at their school. They will raise awareness with a recycling contest and school-wide recycling projects.  Thanks to their awareness campaigns and elbow grease, many tons of paper will be diverted from the waste stream.

Several schools are making plans to work with City Green to  begin a Garden Club using the green space around their school, and on adjoining lots. Gardens will be planned in the fall and installed in the spring. City Green provides consultations, resources and curriculum support to help make their school garden an effective hands-on learning tool.


With energetic and talented teachers of the Paterson school district and enthusiastic youngsters, the City Green programs provide the tools to empower Paterson’s young men and women to take action and Make a Difference!  And in the words of a School 9 Cougars Go Green gal, “[They] plan to save the planet!”

For more information about City Green please contact executive director, Jennifer Papa,, or visit their website at

School Gardens in the News

1) Chipley, FL
Chipley Garden Club Members Help Students Plant Terrariums

Members of the Chipley Garden Club once again visited Kate Smith Elementary School this week in preparation for the 2010 Youth Fair to be held in Washington County.
Previously the garden club members handed out live plants to be grown by the students, but this week they were on hand to help students prepare and plant their own terrariums that will later be entered in the Youth Fair.

2) Wilmington, NC
Alderman Elementary students install rain garden

Alderman Elementary third graders stepped outside the classroom Monday morning to learn about the environment. Volunteers from Wal-Mart and the PTA gave students a hand installing a 2,500 square foot rain garden.
The garden was placed near the entrance of the school to catch and treat rain water from the schools roof and parking lot. Students learned what it takes to make a rain garden.

3) Tampa, FL
Volunteers build reading garden at Tampa’s DeSoto Elementary School

Jalissa Stanley vigorously sanded a bench as her classmates and other volunteers planted flowers, placed pavers and built a pond in a grassy courtyard at DeSoto Elementary School on Saturday.
Jalissa, a third-grader, said she looks forward to bringing books out to the new reading garden that was built in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

4) Yakima, WA
They like to talk garden at McClure Elementary

It isn’t difficult to get kids at Yakima’s McClure Elementary School to talk about their garden.
In fact, schoolchildren recently had so much to say about their nationally certified Schoolyard Habitat that there just wasn’t room to include all their ideas in a story, set to be published Saturday in the Yakima Herald-Republic and at

5) Baltimore, MD
At farm run by Baltimore city schools, they’re planting veggies. . .and ideas

About 15 miles from their campus near the tattered corner of Belair Road and Erdman Avenue, fifth graders from The Green School wandered across 33-acres of farmland and marveled at the city’s newest classroom.
It was a field trip to Great Kids Farm, a key component of the Baltimore city school system’s push to provide fresh fruits and vegetables that students can eat at lunch and appreciate for a lifetime.

6) Silver Spring, MD
Student bee detectives use garden as ‘living laboratory’

There’s a buzz at Saint John the Baptist Catholic School about a new garden that’s helping students understand plant biology, gardening and bee pollination patterns. Full of lavender plants, marigolds and, of course, plenty of bees, young students are getting an early start in biology as they observe the insects and how plants grow.

School Gardens in the News

1) Nashville, TN
Nashville school gardens get kids outdoors

The three Eakin Elementary students pulled and tugged until they glimpsed the top of the orange vegetable. “I think I can get it,” they took turns saying. After much effort, their eyes grew big when they finally saw the carrot and its roots. “Can we eat it?” they all asked simultaneously.

2) Moraga, CA
Garden helps Moraga students grow

It’s a typical math lesson in a not-so-typical classroom.
“How many cups in a quart?” Alice Noyes asked more than a dozen fifth-graders sitting outside on a sunny Friday morning.
“Four,” replied Ethan Valencia, who was then dispatched to mix 2 quarts of water with 1 quart of salt to make a mixture for seasoning seeds from sunflowers planted by students last year.
Welcome to the Rheem Elementary School garden.

3) Baltimore, MD
Baltimore schools go vegetarian one day a week

When the assistant White House chef Sam Kass visited a Baltimore school last week for lunch, he was treated to vegetarian eggplant dip that the students had made with vegetables and herbs from their own organic school garden.
It’s all part of an effort by the Baltimore school system to introduce children to healthier and more sustainable foods. In pursuit of that goal, lunches are now vegetarian every Monday in school cafeterias across the city.

4) Brooklyn, NY
Little Green Thumbs

One of my fondest grade-school memories involves a sweet potato, toothpicks, and a glass of water. There was something magical about watching as a tangle of roots first appeared in the water, followed by leafy tendrils that spilled over the glass and then extended wildly across the kitchen windowsill.

5) Palm Springs, CA
Schools take the lead in teaching students how to live a healthy life

Childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed nationally, tripling in less than 30 years. It is a serious problem that endangers students’ health and taxes the medical system.

Target Field Trip Grants Program

Deadline: Nov. 3, 2009

As part of the Target commitment to supporting education, Target Field Trip Grants program will award 5,000 grants of up to $800 each to U.S. educators to fund a field trip for their students. Target Field Trip Grants may be used to fund trips ranging from visits to art museums and environmental projects to cultural events and civic experiences. Education professionals who are at least 18 years old and employed by an accredited K-12 public, private or charter school in the United States that maintains a 501(c)(3) or 509(a)(1) tax-exempt status are eligible to apply. For more information, and to apply, visit

Support School Gardens – Contact Your Representative

On August 4, 2009, an amendment introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders of
Vermont to provide 2 million dollars to fund a “school community garden
pilot program” was unanimously approved as part of the Senate Ag
Appropriations Bill, which passed the Senate on the same date.

Gardens are powerful educational tools, providing opportunities for children to experience the natural world as they develop strong academic skills and positive attitudes toward fresh fruits and vegetables, and learn important sociological skills that enhance the quality of their lives. Says one teacher from the Arnold Schwarzenegger Charter Elementary School in California, “Children demonstrated a better understanding of concepts and applied them in more sophisticated ways after having instruction in the garden.”

The Sanders amendment funding the program will now go through the conference committee process with the House of Representatives.

I encourage you to contact your representatives in Washington to urge them to keep the funding for the program in the final Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Please click here to send a letter in support of the funding.

As you contact Congress about the bill, I recommend focusing on members of the conference committee, who are listed below. These are the members who will have the most sway over whether the funding is ultimately kept in the bill, and we anticipate that they will make their decision by the end of the September 2009. Thank you again for all of your help!

Sen. Kohl (D-WI)
330 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Pryor (D-AR)
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Farr (D-CA)
1126 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Brownback (R-KS)
303 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Specter (D-PA)
711 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Boyd (D-FL)
1227 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Inouye (D-HI)
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Bennett (R-UT)
702 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Bishop (D-GA)
2429 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Cochran (R-MS)
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Bond (R-MO)
274 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Davis (D-TN)
410 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Harkin (D-IA)
731 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. McConnell (R-KY)
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Kaptur (D-OH)
2186 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Feinstein (D-CA)
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Sen. Collins (R-ME)
413 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Hinchey (D-NY)
2431 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. DeLauro (D-CT)
2413 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Jackson (D-IL)
2419 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Johnson (D-SD)
136 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Kingston (R-GA)
2368 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Latham (R-IA)
2217 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Nelson (D-NE)
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Obey (D-WI)
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Emerson (R-MO)
2440 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Sen. Reed (D-RI)
728 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Rep. Lewis (R-CA)
2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Rep. Alexander (R-LA)
316 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

Office of Senator Bernard Sanders
332 Senate Dirksen Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5141