The winning school will be the recipient of everything needed to start and maintain a garden, including supplies and tools, expert growing instructions, follow-up visits from a horticulturist, and recipes using fresh vegetables under the tutelage of a master chef.
The supporters school gardens regard them as educational tools (Western Growers Foundation). Students learn about responsibilities, working in cooperation with others towards a common goal, action and consequences (forget to water?), and become responsible caretakers. For urban kids, this experiential learning is a chance to get closer to nature, get their hands dirty, and witness the thrill of a seed that’s been buried, out of site, beneath the dirt, eventually growing, flowering, and bearing fruit.
School gardens can help foster self-esteem and confidence, as well as patience (of which a good many of this current generation could use a double-dose).
The nonprofit Life Lab based in Santa Cruz breaks down how school gardening can easily be connected to learning. Science skills such as observing, measuring, comparing, predicting, testing, and concluding are necessities to a successful garden. The listening, speaking, and questioning required to learn the path to a healthy garden is part of the language arts curriculum. Math skills must be utilized to determine volume of a garden in relationship to what to plants or seeds to use and in what quantity.
If a school is located in California, anyone is welcome to apply for a free garden makeover. The application has one “Yes/No” question (yes, the school is located in California), followed by a request for a contact name, phone number, email address, the name of proposed school and the city in which it resides, and a two or three sentences telling why the school of choice should be considered. Agree to terms and that’s it. Click, “Apply.”
Has a particular school come to mind?