Transform a schoolyard space to a garden! As a Together Counts™ partner, we realize that a school garden is a wonderful way for students to physically connect with nutrition education, understand the process of growing healthy foods and recognize environmental stewardship.
Here are some steps to starting and maintaining a school garden:
- Gain encouragement from school administration. Highlight the personal nutrition benefits and the crossover with various academic subjects.
- Identify a location for the garden. Starting small is okay! Devoting time to a container garden is a step in the right direction.
- Budget for resources, like seeds and equipment.
- Students should take part in planning the garden and identifying the things that need to be done to establish and maintain the garden.
- Once a plan is developed, activities can be assigned to individuals or classes such as one or two classes responsible for preparing the soil or ground and another could be responsible for planting small plants or seeds or both.
- Promote school garden during Parent Teacher Association meetings, staff meetings, back-to-school packets, morning announcements and flyers around the school.
- Include ways to be physically active with planting, maintaining and harvesting the school garden.
- Incorporate science concepts of plant biology or writing skills by having students write about the garden and the importance of a healthy nutrition.
- Recruit a small group of adult volunteers to oversee the garden activities of students; this may be a garden club or before/after school group of interested students.
- Have volunteers assist with garden maintenance during the summer – weeding, watering and trimming.
A school garden takes some planning, but the effort is worth the reward! Check out Action for Healthy Kids for free garden curricula, posters and other resources.
Action for Healthy Kids is the nation’s leading non-profit and largest volunteer network fighting childhood obesity and undernourishment by helping schools become healthier places for kids to learn. Visit www.actionforhealthykids.org for more information.
For more ideas and tips on starting and maintaining a garden, check out these other Together Counts articles: