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School Garden & Farm Successes in Washington

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Harvesting carots from the garden in Auburn School District

Check out some of these great school garden and farm successes in Washington and how they're getting it done! Below are a few links, and descriptions of a few great programs.

We are always happy to add to the list, and we want to learn more about what you're doing! If you have a school garden program at your school, we’d love to hear about it. Please send us photos and information, and a link to your website if you have one. Please send to:

L.I.F.E Lopez Island Farm Education

Orca Garden - Seattle

Orcas Island School Garden

Quilcene School Garden
& blog

Franklin Pierce School District Natural Science Resource Center ("the Farm")
, Tacoma, WA

Yelm Community Schools Food & Agriculture CTE Program, Yelm, WA

Eatonville School District G.R.I.T.S. Program
, Eatonville, WA
In May of 2016 Eatonville School District took possession of roughly 3.5 acres of farmland around an over 100-year-old farmhouse, barn, and various outbuildings. The land and buildings were the last piece of a larger salmon restoration project in the Ohop Valley by the Nisqually Land Trust and Nisqually Tribe. Not wanting to destroy the buildings left on the farm, the Land Trust and Tribe approached Eatonville School District about taking the farm and incorporating in into the school district’s programs. ESD has worked with GruB out of Olympia to craft a vision for the future of the farm. That work led to two events where members of the public and school community were invited to provide input. From there Eatonville's maintenance team has worked hard to make the farm safe for students and beginning in the fall of 2017 students began attending classes at the farm full time.

Classroom in Bloom, Winthrop, WA
Classroom in Bloom operates in the Methow Valley School District in rural central Washington, serving the elementary, middle, and high schools. They have a 3/4 acre production garden with fruit tree orchard, natives garden and compost all of the cafeteria and lunchroom food waste year round.  In 2013 (the last year I have info for), students delivered 2,490 pounds of fruits and vegetables to the cafeteria! They have developed an interdisciplinary, garden-based curriculum for K-7 grade that coordinates by grade level to create inquiry-based outdoor lessons and projects that integrate into existing classroom themes. The garden also provides service learning and summer jobs for high school students, as well as building projects by industrial arts students and Spanish language signs by Spanish classes. Best visited in May or June due to seasonal climate.

Farmer Frog, Everett and around the Puget Sound region
Farmer Frog works with many local partners to make it work! Developing curriculum that ties to Common Core requirements (Next Generation Science Standards) relate to the classroom.  2-3 week sessions.  Goal is to get it to a turn-key stage for teachers to teach independently. They also have active afterschool garden clubs, Food is shared with students and families who work there during weekly garden work hours and also goes into veggie backpacks for homeless and at-risk families. During summer, students volunteer and take the food to sell at the local farmers market, funds pay farmers market fees, and then pays for seeds and starts for school year (coordinated by Farmer Frog).  District also uses for 1:1 para-educator activities with special needs students.

Garden Raised Urban Bounty (GRUB), Olympia, WA
GRuB's mission is to inspire positive personal and community change by bringing people together around food and agriculture. They partner with youth and people with low-incomes to create empowering individual & community food solutions and offer tools & trainings to help build a just & sustainable food system. They work in Thurston & Mason counties in Washington State.

Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center, Carnation, WA
Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center inspires people to eat healthy, sustainably grown food and to steward our natural resources for future generations. The Center is located on 230 acres of privately-owned land bordering the Snoqualmie River in western Washington. We use this land to grow food and native plants, to learn about nature and how we can protect it while benefiting from it, and to educate children and the general public about food, farming, and the environment.

South Whidbey School Farms, Langley, WA
The purpose of the Coupeville School Gardens is to support learning, inspire creativity, and promote the health of our students. Through our programs, from the time they are in kindergarten, students are learning about the uniqueness of their community and are given the education to participate and contribute to its preservation and development.

Lower Columbia School Gardens, Longview, WA
One acre with 22 raised beds, fruit, and a large fruit tree orchard.  Also has a classroom Garden Lab – cooking classes, seed drying, herb drying, etc.  Summer garden program where community members, volunteers, staff, and students from many area schools grow food and offer produce sales to the public.

Lower Columbia School Gardens helps design and build new gardens, develop curriculum, coordinate community partners and financial support for school gardens. In 2014:

  • LCSG has helped create and sustain thirteen school gardens (totaling over 100,000 square feet) in Cowlitz County, as well as smaller projects at 4 other schools.
  • 3,100 students were engaged.
  • 310 volunteers helped by contributing
  • 12,500 volunteer hours.

East Valley School District, Spokane, WA
This high school program runs a five acre farm, including about an acre of wheat!  High school students and community gardeners work together on the shared farm. The District’s In Tec program offers project-based learning and is very involved with the garden.  They study the life cycle of wheat in partnership with Crop Production Services and Shepherd’s Grain (both for profit companies), both for crop production and classroom education.  District pays small stipend for coordinator.  Food mostly going to Second Harvest and Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank because most harvest is during the summer. School year harvest and herbs served in school meals. Best visited in May or June due to seasonal climate.

Walla Walla Valley Farm to School, Walla Walla, WA
Recently became a nonprofit organization to support school gardens, after working in Walla Walla Public Schools since 2007 as parent volunteers, with a 1.5 period funded by the school district through a USDA Farm to School grant (2013-2014). Working on a outline/curriculum for 5 garden visits per season outline/curriculum to enhance district’s life and earth sciences curriculum and help meet Next Generation Science Standards.

Common Threads Farm and School Garden Collective, Bellingham, WA
Common Threads is a grassroots, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes a “seed to table” approach to food production, good nutrition, and environmental stewardship.  Most of our programs take place on public school grounds, during the school day in collaboration with classroom teachers and food service staff.  Additionally, Common Threads runs after-school and summertime gardening and cooking programs.  2016 is Common Threads’ tenth year of gardening and cooking with children and eighth year of connecting kids with healthy food in schools. We currently garden, cook, and eat with over 4000 children annually and collaborate with teaching and food service staff in 17 schools.

79% of the students at Alderwood Elementary are eligible for free and reduced lunch. The neighborhood is a USDA designated food desert, and food access has been identified as such a significant problem that the Bellingham Food Bank has initiated a mobile pantry program that currently serves about 50 families each week at Alderwood Elementary.  

Last Updated: 11/26/2018