Resources for starting a school garden

Starting a school garden can be a daunting task. Get some help with these resources.

Starting a school garden can appear to be a daunting task, and many of the parents and teachers I have consulted with often don’t know where to begin.  Many times a few helpful resources can provide enough direction to get a good start.

"How to Grow a School Garden" by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle is a comprehensive guide to starting a school garden without being overwhelming. This book begins with the benefits of school gardens and goes directly into the very first crucial but often overlooked step of “laying the groundwork” where you organize a team of school and community members to support the garden from start to finish. This “Garden Team” is the primary step to long-term success and sustainability. The book proceeds to thoroughly cover the rest of the process including site design, groundbreaking, budgeting and fundraising. It also covers the fundamental process of integrating the garden into the curriculum – an important step that is key to unlocking the immense potential of the school garden as an experiential educational tool. Other topics covered are a sampling of year-round garden lessons and activities along with school garden recipes and a helpful resource list.

Another good school garden “starter” resource is the School Garden Wizard website. This wonderfully accessible resource has lots of useful information including a template to create a proposal for your school garden, how to organize a “Vision Meeting”, steps to forming a “School Garden Team” and how to provide a multi-sensory environment that supports a diverse range of learning styles and abilities.

University of Georgia Extension also has a website of school garden resources that includes a shorter guide to starting a school garden called "Steps in Starting a School Garden". It includes a nice timeline template for starting a school garden.

For those looking for a more Farm to School perspective on school gardens including finding and buying local food, the webinar video “Planning Toolkit – School Gardens” by the USDA may be a good choice to get started.

These are just a few of school garden starting guides available and I hope you find them useful. If you have further questions about school gardens, please contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590.

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