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“Our school garden’s mission is to improve the health and well-‐being of students, families, and our local community.”
•Cultivate student curiosity and exploration.
•Support student nutrition at school and at home, and encourage every child’s
ownership over his and her own health.
•Cultivate children’s joy in learning by providing opportunities for hands-‐on learning in school curriculum subjects.
•Provide opportunities for students to take on leadership roles. Support students
in sharing their own ideas and having their voices heard.
•Make your school a healthier environment by practicing organic
gardening techniques that restore natural resources and by teaching students
that small steps can go a long way towards creating a healthier environment.
•Teach students and community members about the joys of the outdoors, productive work and physical activity.
Cultivating meaningful relationships with stakeholders will ensure that our garden project receives consistent care and support to help it thrive.
Stakeholders are people or organizations that are in invested in and necessary to the
success of the garden project. Stakeholders in school garden projects include the school
and school administration, teachers, facilities staff, parents, and members of the
community where the school is located.
These key people help our project in a variety of ways!
Planning should play a central role in establishing the garden, organizing
events, fundraising, and the garden’s future. Get committee members
invested and on the same page by having discussions early on about the
Mission and Goals for the garden, and keep them engaged with a regular meeting schedule and fun events. Build a structure to support your committee members in their work—remember that they’re volunteering their time!
In the early stages of your garden, the Planning
Committee’s responsibilities will include:
•Design and implementation
•Communication about the garden
•Building a 3-‐5 year plan
Every Planning Committee will look different depending on the needs
and vision of your garden project. Committee members should be representatives from your various stakeholder groups who are committed to the garden. Be careful of making your committee so large that it has difficulty making decisions effectively—while 6 or 7
people may be able to have very engaging and proactive discussions, gaining consensus
can become more difficult as the number increases. A sample committee might include:
•Parent on PTO Board
•Member of community partner organization
•Food service coordinator or member of school “Green Team”
Volunteers and community members can bring incredible knowledge and energy to your
project. Below are some ideas to help you connect with people who are interested in
volunteering and support them in their work. Remember to recruit, support and recognize volunteers for their hard work.
•Reach out in the school newsletter, through a local volunteering website, or to
the local garden club. Have a stand at the farmer’s market to describe the work
of your garden and the many ways a volunteer can help.
•Hold Community Events in your garden to bring in new faces.
•Offer free classes once a month, or as often as you can. Remember, your
volunteers want to teach but they also want to learn.
•Keep a regular blog or send out a weekly newsletter so volunteers and
community members know what’s happening. Visitors to the garden can sign up
for the newsletter to hear about events and opportunities to get involved.
•Remember to thank your volunteers often, and not only after big events. Send a
letter or e-‐mail every once in a while, and throw a volunteer appreciation party at the end of the school year! Have students perform or write to show
volunteers just how much their help has meant.
•Invite volunteers to a meeting with the planning committee every once in a
while, to share their own hopes and ideas for the garden.
Record everything! FREE Printable Garden Record Sheets here. From the hard data of where, what, and how much you planted to the personal impressions you had about running a particular lesson plan. Things will move very quickly in your garden, and you’ll be glad to have records to review later.
Records are also important tools to use for funding applications and in presentations to
stakeholders. You may want record data about:
•Planting and harvesting
•Volunteer and visitor numbers
•Use and sales of your harvest
•Lesson plan write-‐ups and evaluations
If you prefer to save your records on your computer with a
program such as Excel, make sure to back up your files!
Now that your project is up and running, let everyone know! Reaching out to families
and community members will help to bring in new faces, and it can offer
wonderful opportunities for students to reflect and share their experiences. Here are some ways to share your story:
•Start a blog for your garden, or send out a weekly newsletter with updates,
pictures, and events.
•Create a Garden Calendar that describes what’s growing and what activities are
happening, and post it online or in the school. This way, teachers can see what’s
going on in the garden and can have the opportunity to schedule their class a
time to visit.
•Present quick updates during school staff meetings or at the PTOO meeting.
•Make use of social media like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to supporters
near and far.