School gardens are cropping up all over the state!
In this section, learn about:
- Ideas for school garden activities and education
- Best practices for food safety in the garden
- School garden success stories in Washington
- Grant and Funding opportunities
Students in elementary school through high school are learning about how food grows and are engaged in growing their own. A school garden is a fantastic and complete teaching tool that allows educators to use hands-on experiences to teach everything from math and science to art and reading. In fact, there isn’t anything that can’t be taught from a garden, including some important things about patience and nurturing, caring for our world and ourselves, and understanding life cycles. Students will begin to make their own connections and learn skills that can have life-long benefits. Plus, gardening can be fun and is a great physical activity. For students, being outside, planting seeds and watching them grow, and then harvesting their own food can be very fulfilling.
A school garden can be any size and even grow with the students. It is often a focal point for parents, teachers and students to cooperate whether it is small or large. It should be flexible and help meet the precise needs of the school community. Educators know that it can also promote opportunities for interdisciplinary lessons, good nutrition and exercise and instill a positive work ethic. It gives kids a chance to contribute positively to their environment.
A Statewide Conversation about School Gardens
The WSDA Farm to School Team wants to support school gardens, and we feel that the best way to do that right now is to help you connect with each other! Laura Plaut, of Common Threads Farm in Bellingham, has graciously offered to serve as a convener/coordinator to bring together interested garden practitioners and advocates across the state to discuss ways to collaborate, learn from each other, and make a plan for cross-pollination going forward! She'd love some collaborators on the project.
Interested in joining the school garden conversation?
Email Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
Check out this great map created by the OSPI Education for Environment and Sustainability program to see school gardens near you:
A great resource that addresses:
- garden space
- using school garden produce in the cafeteria
- outdoor classrooms
- food safety in the garden
- staffing and funding
- summer meals
- early childhood education, etc.
Let's Move - America's Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids
This School Garden Checklist is a great place to start!
Ensuring School Garden Experience with School Wellness Policy
School districts can support and ensure such rich school garden experience by specifying school garden activities in their School Wellness Policy:
The Public Health Law Center provides sample language for school garden.
Incorporating School Garden Language into a School Wellness Policies by Wisconsin School Garden Initiative has specific examples of possible school garden language.
(See our School Wellness Policy page for more information.)