Growing School Food Gardens

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  • 1.  Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-14-2022 05:10:00 PM
    Edited by Amelia Dupuis (she/her) 06-15-2022 10:47:04 AM
    Thanks to those of you who joined us today for the outstanding Funding Your Garden webinar with Roger Doiron, Sonya Harris, and Sarah Pounders! Let's keep the conversation going here.

    How have you raised funds for your garden? What has been successful and what has been challenging?

    All who post an answer to this question before Tuesday, June 21st will be entered to win a copy of the "Growing Food" curriculum from KidsGardening & the Teacher's College at Columbia University.

    Sarah Lane

  • 2.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-15-2022 11:37:00 AM
    I have recently started using donation jars at farm markets and nurseries. I tried emailing; but had limited success. I am doing better on "cold calls" with about 60% placement.  We will see on how successful it is after the season...fingers crossed.

    nancy osterberg

  • 3.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-15-2022 02:58:00 PM
    One way I have found to help with funding is to save money where ever I can. I start all of our school garden plants at home from seed: tomatoes, peppers, brassicas, flowers, and herbs. Growing started plants takes time but is extremely cost effective. This year herb plants at a local big box store were $7-$8 each, so I bought seed packets for $1.79 each. Stretching whatever funding you have can help a lot.

    Vicki Uden

  • 4.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-15-2022 05:19:00 PM
    We have at least 2 Farmer's Markets a year to sell what we have grown.  We usually hold the sale during carpool time so that we have a captive audience.

    Lisa Smith

  • 5.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-16-2022 01:23:00 AM
    My public school uses grant funding (from local grocery chain, school garden network and philanthropic nonprofit) to fund our program teaching 500 students. Additionally, we ran 2 fundraisers (Farm Fresh to You, a California based CSA box subscription and Flower Power, a online flower selling platform) and raised money via PTA's annual read-a-thon. Another idea that greatly benefited the garden program was creating an Amazon wishlist and asking parents to directly buy items for the program. In the future, we intend to apply for more grants, partner with local grocery and community businesses and try selling plant starts grown in our greenhouse.

    allie hartley

  • 6.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-16-2022 01:01:00 PM
    Edited by Mackenzie Heffernan 06-16-2022 01:55:32 PM
    How have you raised funds for your garden? What has been successful and what has been challenging?

    In 2020, St. Croix Montessori School, located on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was inspired by the Edible Schoolyard program in Berkeley, CA and decided to plant a seed towards their garden goals. First, they discussed with their board of directors and staff the options available that could make the vision come to life. With the help of a local non-profit assistance organization, known as St. Croix Foundation, they secured an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer to assist them in this new project. At the beginning of the 2021 Fall Semester, they applied to the St. Croix Foundation Sprint to Excellence Education Relief Grant and various other online grant opportunities, including the 2021 Kids Gardening Youth Garden Grant. By the end of the year, they received over $50,000 in funding to use for the foundation of their school garden program. 

    Since receiving the generous award from Kids Gardening including a $250 check and garden supplies, St. Croix Montessori School has transformed their outdoor space into an Edible Schoolyard. The school has used these resources in addition to local funding and resources to build a fenced shade house with raised beds and visited multiple farms locally to learn more about sustainable agriculture. The school community has also engaged in two events hosted on site to bring students and families together for gardening activities and fun outside in nature. One of these events was on Global Youth Service Day, in which the students participated in collecting and boxing dry food donations and transplanting sprouts to bigger pots. Families joined the students in helping gather and drop off donations to the local food pantry and learning about the importance of gardening and the Edible Schoolyard Program. 

    At these events students used the materials donated by Kids Gardening as well as other locally grown seeds, soil and supplies. Without the help of our community sponsors, Kids Gardening, and Sodexo, this event and the garden progress would not be possible. The school is extremely grateful for all of the support received thus far and continues to work each day on implementing a plan to maintain the garden program for the long-term vision. Their community consists of 45 students between the ages of 3-12, parents, family members, teachers, aides, landscapers, and local farmers. Although the program has just begun in the fall of 2021, the school hopes to keep growing food for generations to come and to inspire positive change for the climate and food security on the island and globally.

    As for challenges, the island is constantly facing environmental obstacles that they also consistently overcome through their unwavering resilience and community. After the storms of 2017, locals and natives living stateside have come together for their island to bring back the life lost and revitalize the natural beauty of the Caribbean. Part of this process has included rebuilding and creating sustainable agriculture practices and helping farmers provide more food for the island. In addition to the hurricane season, St. Croix also faces other environmental factors such as droughts/extreme heat, isolation from the U.S. mainland, and lack of transportation infrastructure. Luckily, the Department of Agriculture has an office on the island and offers affordable farming supplies to the community, which the school has also utilized for their Edible Schoolyard classroom. 

    The biggest challenge overall is time management. Although there are resources available and many people willing to help execute the garden program, it seems that there is often not enough time in the days to make the process go faster than it can. The hardest lesson so far has been that, like growing food, good fruits take time to bear and are always worth waiting for. There are endless amounts of grants and donors to reach out to help with the garden project, however, it takes time and coordination from everyone to make it all possible. Now that the garden has been created, the next steps towards establishing sustainable funding sources are becoming more important. Gathering information, creating budgets, and completing grant reports are the actions that have become most challenging to accomplish quickly and need to be achieved over longer periods of time on a schedule. As for the garden, time management is also necessary to assure that plants and resources are not wasted. The best way to avoid crops dying or not bearing is to work with a local farmer that is knowledgeable about the environment and how to best grow food for sustainability. St. Croix Montessori School has partnered with local farmers to assist in building and maintaining the garden, as well as leading educational workshops with the students. The time donated to the school by the farmer is being compensated by the grant funding received from the local education grant. 

    Mackenzie Heffernan

  • 7.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-18-2022 09:20:00 AM
    We are a k-5 school in a somewhat rural community, but we still have many families who have never gardened or raised their own food.  To raise awareness, we utilize a Charlie Cart starting in kindergarten and teach healthy foods, cooking, and gardening.  This gets families more interested and invested because their children find it exciting.  Much of our supplies come from donations from these families.

    We also have a local group (Rooted in Wyoming) who helps us attain grants as our hands are somewhat tied as far as applying for grants by our District.

    Our community ilbus9nesses are very gracious and donate materials for our projects as well.

    Beth Music
    Sheridan, Wyoming

  • 8.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-18-2022 07:11:00 PM
    I'm at a private school and I've been successful finding local and National grant money to help start our school community garden. We just finished building 12 raised beds. We will start a fall garden when the students return in August. Our local United Way has donated seeds and other garden tools. And our school has been very supportive as this garden project is a whole school ages 2-12th grade project and supports local food insecure community members.

    Jena Simms

  • 9.  RE: Funding Your Garden - Successes and Challenges

    Posted 06-19-2022 01:28:00 AM
    How have you raised funds for your garden?

    We work in very high poverty schools and virtually all of our funding comes from grants. Luckily garden education can integrate STEM, nutrition and environmental education, so we can pitch to funders that focus on any of those issue areas. 

    What has been successful? 

    I put together a case statement of sorts, cobbled together with verbiage from numerous grant proposals, and now I pull language from that when I'm putting together a proposal.

    Also, applying as a consortium of schools is easier than just applying for one school, in some ways.


    Administering lots of small grants. I have so many reports to put together and submit!

    Christina Abuelo
    Garden Coordinator
    Barrio Botany
    San Diego, CA

    m: 858-210-2628