School Gardens News

Resources for Starting School Gardens

On April 2 we led a round-table discussion on Starting and Maintaining School Gardens at the American Community Gardening Association 2011 Southwest Regional Conference.

Many participants requested copies of the resources presented at the discussion, so below are links to download them. Feel free to modify them to meet your needs. Please give credit to Flagstaff Foodlink and Gardens for Humanity if you use these documents.

Sustainability Curriculum Schema

Sustainability School Survey

School Gardens Grant Application

Steps and Resources for Starting a School Garden

To obtain K-6 and Senior High School Gardening Curricula aligned to Arizona State Academic Standards across the curriculum contact:

Flagstaff Foodlink

West Sedona School Gardens

We have been working with Principal Lisa Hirsch and staff at West Sedona School on a health and sustainability program using school gardens as a focal point of the curriculum. On August 11 the first in a series of nine-week enrichment classes will begin with the middle school students, meeting two days per week.

Our Objectives:

Students will attain the skills and knowledge to plan and plant a purposeful vegetable garden within their middle school community. Students will understand how gardening fits into sustainability education, and the importance of their work on a global level.

In the first nine weeks the students will be the founding members of the middle school garden at West Sedona School.  From soil to seeds to planning and planting the students will engage in learning the values of working together to create a community garden.

In addition, Linda Crawford, fourth and fifth grade teacher, will have a garden curriculum as part of her classes and work with a team of teachers to use the garden as a part of learning in many subject areas. Linda will also sponsor a student gardening club. We are helping them develop their large garden site to serve students from Head Start through sixth grade.

West Sedona School Gardens Booster Club

While many look to September as the end of the growing season, those involved with the West Sedona School gardens are anxious to break ground for the fall-winter garden!

Students in the Middle School and Linda Crawford’s fourth/fifth grade class have been analyzing the soil and they all agree on one thing: first we need to grow the soil and start composting.

Gardens for Humanity is working with Principal Dr. Lisa Hirsch, parents and staff to start a garden “booster club.”  The booster club will mainly be a parent and community organization to support the teachers, the students, the gardening program and the gardening club.

We believe that cultivating a garden together builds community. A school garden has the extra benefit of involving young people in learning about where their food comes from and connecting them to the earth.

Sedona Red Rock High School Gardening Club

Where many people would see just a neglected part of campus covered with gravel and threatening yucca spears, teacher Elaine Watkins sees a future place of beauty, with flowers, fruiting vines and vegetables growing – a place for her gardening club to design and create a garden.

For several years, Elaine has sponsored a gardening club with her students at Red Rock High School. They created a small kitchen garden with mixed salad greens, and winter and spring veggies. With her adept cooking skills she has made some reluctant teens actually love fresh salad!

Last week we met with Elaine to assess a campus site for a new, large garden of some 3,600 square feet. In our imagination we saw a fantastic future garden involving many high school students. She was so excited with the potential of the new garden and with networking her students with other school gardeners in northern Arizona.

Future School Gardens in the Verde Valley

In the next month, Gardens for Humanity and the Verde Food Council will be presenting our “green” vision to superintendents, principals, and staff in the Verde Valley to offer our support and guidance in starting school gardens.

The leadership at Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood, along with their Agriscience program are valuable partners in this vision. As a key high school serving most elementary school districts in the Verde Valley, they are excited about the positive impact of school gardens on their future students. They see an agricultural renaissance in the Verde Valley as an important economic and quality of life benefit to the communities they serve.

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