According to the 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Census, 198 Minnesota schools are growing edible gardens. Let's work together to maintain the existing gardens and plant a hundred more.
Follow these steps to grow a garden that makes learning come alive for your students.
Build a team — Identify key contacts to work with on this project.
Identify goals — Gardens have many uses and forms. Work with your team to define the goals for your schoolyard garden. See this Determining Your Goals Worksheet.
Design your garden — Create a design that engages students and meets your shared goals. See the Slow Food USA School Garden Guide for ideas to design and build the garden.
Find funding — Develop a creative approach to secure funds and materials for your garden. The Jeffers Foundation offers resources to develop school gardens.
The steps above are based on Creating and Growing Edible Schoolyards from Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership and Starting and Maintaining a School Garden from the National Farm to School Network.
For students' safety, you will want to handle, store, and prepare school garden produce safely.
MN School Garden & Farm to Cafeteria Safety — Statewide Health Improvement Partnership — Follow the guidelines in this manual to ensure food safety and prevent it from becoming a barrier to using local foods or establishing a school garden. Developed in 2013 as a resource for garden planning, harvest safety, and food safety in the cafeteria.
Produce Safety Fact Sheets and Videos — Institute of Child Nutrition — Find best practices for food safety in the garden and the classroom, including videos and activities. These two fact sheets are a must-read for anyone serving fresh produce from the garden:
Minnesota Schoolyard Garden Coalition (MNSGC): Connect with other school gardens on the MNSGC Facebook page, at the annual conference in March, or via email at email@example.com.
School Gardens: Using Gardens to Grow Healthy Habits in Cafeterias, Classrooms and Communities — U.S. Department of Agriculture — Fact sheet outlining guidelines, best practices, and additional resources.
Steps to a School Garden — California School Garden Network — Resources for each step of managing your school garden.
School Gardening — Kids Gardening — Guides and activities.
School Garden Resources — Life Lab — Curricula and resources.