It's Kids Garden Month!!! This year, the Kids Garden Month theme is "Let's Grow Together!". We're celebrating here in the Kids Garden Community with a weekly discussion so all of us educators, caregivers, and volunteers can get in on the fun!
Each Tuesday, we'll start a thread related to the theme and anyone who responds is entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift card to Gardener's Supply Company! Preview the questions for the next few weeks and check out the kids contest here.
This week's topic: How does your garden or garden program support your community? Does it provide food for those in need? Spread joy? Offer a safe space? Provide job or internship opportunities? Let us know!
Since our garden is just beginning, it hasn't impacted the community. This summer our garden will be maintained by students who have community service. They will water, weed, and nurture the garden. Through their efforts, they will be able to harvest the produce and use it at home. This fall, the products will be used with the foods classes to create healthy foods with fresh ingredients. Hopefully, the garden will be a safe and calming space for all who visit.
We started our gardens in 2017. We use them to teach students how to plant, how to take care of, how composting works, and then use the produce to teach "garden lessons" built off of the Next Gen Science Standards for each grade. (K-5). Part of the lesson is going out and seeing, feeling, smelling, and checking out the environment (pollination- bees) which we grow our food. It is exciting to see our new outdoor classroom (students created and helped make) which we will be doing an open house hopefully when the weather breaks...
Our school garden program supports our community because we are connected to the community garden. With this partnership we are able to supply the kid power to get big jobs done quickly that some of our gardeners are not able to complete! Most recently we have been putting stone around the outside of the community garden area to keep the weeds down and to hold down the fencing installed to keep small animals out of the garden. We have also created an outdoor classroom area that other members of the community can use for a relaxation or meeting area. We also donate any extra produce that we grow to either the cafeteria at our school, the school foods cooking class, or the food bank in our area.
We are a K-6 Garden Club at a public library. I believe we support our community by being an informal educational supplement to the children's formal education. In addition, during the summer the garden is an opportunity for local teens to gain service hours that are required by their high school. Finally, I do hope the garden also provides the children who contribute to it to feel joy and pride.
This is the first year that our childcare facility will be working together to grow a garden. We hope that the garden will encourage the children to build relationships and use teamwork as they care for and nurture the garden. We hope that it will provide educational opportunities for them to learn about gardening, and understand the outdoor environment and the characteristics of living things. The garden will provide fresh produce to the children to encourage healthy eating habits. We also hope that the garden will help the children learn self-confidence by growing their own food.
Our school garden is still pretty new, only a couple of years old, so we are still building much of our infrastructure. One way the garden supports our community is to bring elementary students and neighborhood/community helpers together to work on projects. The adults get to share knowledge and have buy-in to the garden, and the students get to see adults working hard on projects and learn new skills. The cooperation between the two different ages of people is amazing to watch!
Our garden is just beginning as well. Students have begun by planting seeds indoors, creating seed tape, and weeding the garden beds to prep them for planting. Each and every time we are in the garden, students are excited and engaged. They ask every day if we're going to work in the garden and want to weed with me during recesses! Our garden spaces are definitely bringing joy to the students already. They are also bringing students a sense of pride or satisfaction as they accomplish different tasks. I cannot wait to see how the garden spaces at our school continue to impact our students, and staff, in a positive way during upcoming years.
------------------------------Sara KoepnickMorgan Hill CA------------------------------
------------------------------Amelia DupuisKids Garden Community ManagerKidsGardening------------------------------
What a great question! Community Impact is what it is all about on our campus. All the food we grow is taken to different organizations (usually non-profits) that feed food insecure individuals in our local community. My students really like to give to organizations that serve children. We have found different organizations appreciate different types of foods. So it has taken some trial and error on our part to "get it right" on the side of the ones donating fresh produce. The food that is sometimes the easiest to grow may not be the food the places want or need. So we have had to shift our planting practices to foods that are the highest in demand. We have found ourselves planting potatoes, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, okra, and herbs. We want to meet the needs of these organizations and reduce their food costs so we need to be mindful of what is needed not just what we like to plant.
Our school just completed a fundraising project to purchase a greenhouse! The students our school are building skills and techniques, not only for growing, harvesting, and using products but also gaining social skills, peace, responsibility, fresh air, team work skills, and so much more. We also share our extra harvest items with the local food banks!
Our garden is a place on campus that brings community members and local non-profits together. Our harvest festival, Earth Day Celebration, garden classes and after-school cooking club brings in families, scouts and volunteers who network and complete projects that benefit the school and the neighborhood.
Our garden doesn't quite exist yet but will very soon. We are a community food pantry in Northern Indiana. We're still trying to figure it all out. I have a grant out for a greenhouse that we could add next year if we win it.
Our garden is part of a local YMCA and we use it in conjunction with our kids cooking program. The children participate by planting seeds, learning about composting, observing bugs in the garden, and then harvesting produce and using it in the cooking program. We also invite seniors and school children in the community to come visit and help with harvesting and they can take some of what they harvest. We send any surplus to a local church for their food pantry, along with recipes to give them an idea of how to cook with it. This is important because we are located in a food desert. The children in our cooking program have recentlypainted signs to hang on the fence around the garden. Because of Kids Garden Community, we are developing our garden into a multicultural garden to help make it more inclusive.
Our school greenhouse has been around for about 8 years. I have been involved and running the program for the last 6 years. We don't really service the community however we do get the community involved through volunteering adults and donating supplies. Our PTO is very supportive and provides us with funds each year. We also collaborate with individuals in the community on how to better teach our students. Our greenhouse is primarily a teaching place. Our students love the greenhouse and request to visit it constantly. We also use the greenhouse as a reward for some of our students who require behavior checks.
Our school garden supports our school community by providing a place for our students to learn and grow. I teach several Farm 2 Fork classes over many grade levels and our students grow their own produce. They even grow seedlings that we use in our garden, they sell to parents and local community to raise money to support the garden and they give vegetable seedlings to local community gardens. My students also learn about how to harvest, cook and eat the vegetables that they grow and they learn about making healthy food choices. They also learn how to be good stewards of the earth as they learn sustainable gardening practices.
just chiming in to say I am enjoying reading this thread!
Our garden has been in place with the school district since 2017 and we see students on a daily basis even during summer school. We have supported our community by feeding the students during class time and offering ways to preserve and prepare food. The kids take such ownership that it extends back to their home and they are starting their own gardens! Feed someone for a day or teach them to grow and they eat for a lifetime!
I work at a small branch of our library system. We use our garden mostly as an educational garden to help the kids who come to our programs understand where their food comes from, the role of bees, etc. We also share any extra produce with patrons who come into the library. In addition, we have a food library so that any community member can come in and pick up seeds to grow in their personal garden.
So many great responses and ideas for supporting communities with gardens. Thank you all for chiming in! @Patty Parsons is our first weekly winner of the GSC gift card! (Check your messages for a message from me, Patty!). The post for week 2 is up.
Our garden brings the community together. We have parent volunteers come in and help us to plant seeds. We have had parent volunteers help us build flower boxes and planters. Members of the community help us maintain the garden over the summer when school is out. We also send a flower and vegetable plant home with each student and encourage them to plant these in their home gardens. Our summer staff enjoys our strawberry plants throughout the summer.
One way our garden helps support our community is that we designate 6 of our raised beds for "Plant A Row for the Hungry". All produce grown in these beds is weighed and donated to our local food bank. Our students play an active role in planning, planting, maintaining, harvesting, and weighing the produce.
132 Intervale RoadBurlington, VT 05401
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