Launched in partnership with the Green Village Initiative, the School Garden Resource Center supports the creation and effective use of educational vegetable gardens in schools. We believe that by using our knowledge and resources to provide services and advice, training garden coordinators in schools and creating a network of educators committed to educational gardens we can help schools build, maintain and sustain thriving school garden programs.
TO SUPPORT SCHOOL GARDEN PROGRAMS, WE:
- Work closely with teachers, parents and administrators to develop a customized garden plan for each school
- Design and install gardens that are suitable to the needs and plans of the specific school community
- Support the rehabilitation of existing school gardens that are no longer used so that they can be integrated into school curriculum and culture
- Assist schools in implementing school gardens that extend the classroom and enhance the academic experience of students
- Train garden coordinators from within schools who will complete our School Garden Coordinator Training program, a year-long intensive program.
- Support the development of garden-based curricula and work directly with teachers to deliver lessons in their classes
- Provide farm-based field trips that correlate to educational standards
- Connect schools to community resources necessary for long-term viability
- Engage the school administration and staff as well as the broader community in supporting the school garden
- Host professional development workshops and networking events
- Share resources and opportunities through a regular email newsletter
WHY WE ARE DOING IT
School gardens can be powerful learning labs. A school garden program offers students place-based experiences that deeply impact their understanding of food, health, nature and community. Successful garden programs can improve test scores, fight childhood obesity, promote physical activity, expose kids to healthy foods, change eating habits and provide positive connections to nature. Garden programs can be developed using installed built gardens, indoor or outdoor container growing or through relationships with a nearby community garden or farm.
But not all school gardens have these impacts. In order to be successful, a school garden program must have sustained support from the school community, become an integral part of the curriculum, and be a source of relevant learning experiences for all students. We have created the School Garden Resource Center to serve as the resource hub for materials, supplies, training and support.
We’re ready to help. Over recent years, the need for all-inclusive school garden support in our community has significantly increased and this year we are fortunate to be able to launch the School Garden Resource Center through generous support from the Green Village Initiative and Newman’s Own Foundation. While this funding allows us to do a great deal of work helping to create school garden programs in schools it does not fully fund each service. Many services, such as soil, compost, seeds and seedlings, labor and school field trips are currently subsidized. Please see our menu of services. We will keep growing. In the longer term, we are striving to build a statewide network of those committed to building and sustaining edible school gardens. We hope to be able to support gardens all over CT that are deeply integrated into school communities and curricula – leading ultimately to a garden in every school in the state!