Edible School Gardens

Did you know that a typical carrot often travels nearly 2,000 miles to reach your table? Transporting our food from far away has a significant negative impact on the environment…plus it’s a lot more fun to grow a carrot than to wait for it to arrive on a truck! Research shows that children are more likely to try a new fruit or vegetable if they have been involved in planting, growing, and harvesting it. Edible gardens can provide healthy eating habits that will stay with kids throughout their lives. Edible school gardens not only provide fresh, nutritious foods for students to enjoy, but valuable learning experiences as well. In addition to providing the chance for kids to learn how to garden and grow food, edible gardens are living laboratories that provide vast opportunities for exploration and investigation. Learn how to design, build and utilize edible gardens at your school! (And remember: be sure to choose fruit, vegetable and herb plants that will produce while school is in session so kids can enjoy what they’ve grown!)

Tip: Also visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you improve the health & sustainability of your school!

Before You Start

Overview: USDA Edible School Gardens Fact Sheet

Eco Schools: Top Ten Tips for School Food Sustainability

Form an Action Team

School Grounds Site Assessment

Design and Preparation

Project Design & Preparation Basics

Plants in the Schoolyard

Conduct a Sustainable Food Audit

Find School Garden Grants:

  • USFWS Schoolyard Guide: Money Matters
  • Food Corps: School Garden Grants
  • Kids Gardening: Youth Garden Grants
  • View Model Edible Schoolyards:

  • Edible Schoolyard Network
  • Founding Edible Schoolyards
  • Education Fund's Food Forests
  • Implementation

    Project Implementation Basics

    Develop a Sustainable Food Action Plan

    General Tips:

  • LifeLab: How To Create & Sustain a School Garden
  • Children’s Vegetable Garden Design Tips (Natural Learning Initiative)
  • Kids Gardening: Tips for Creating & Sustaining School Gardens
  • Policy & Protocols for School Gardens & Garden to Cafeteria (LifeLab)
  • Build Raised Beds, Salad Tables & Boxes:

  • Kids Gardening: Raised Beds 101
  • Planting Beds: BSI Outdoor Classrooms Design Guide
  • Instructables.Com: Raised Bed Instructions
  • Build Salad Tables and Salad Boxes
  • Become a Food Corps Service Site: Apply for School or District

    Also See: Healthy, Sustainable Food Initiatives

    Also See: Attracting Pollinators

    Maintenance

    Project Maintenance Basics

    Using Your Project

    Nutrition Education in the Garden: Best Practices

    Connecting the Garden to the Classroom

    LifeLab School Garden Curriculum, Online Lessons, Webinars & Workshops

    Edible Schoolyard Resources Search Engine

    Training: The Edible Schoolyard Academy

    Kids Gardening Educator Resources

    Growing School Gardens Professional Learning Community

    EPA Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides & Online Resources for Educators

    Eco Schools Sustainability Pathways & Resources

    Eco Schools National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

    Green Education Foundation: Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

    Learning Lab Sustainability Lessons

    Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

    Sharing Your Project

    Team Nutrition Popular Events Idea Notebook

    Engage EVERYONE with the “The School Day Just Got Healthier” Toolkit!

    Involve Parents & Others Enhancing & Implementing a School Wellness Policy

    Nutrition Education & Promotion Materials

    Forward Food Posters, Postcards & More

    Golden Carrot Award: Food Service Healthy School Lunch Improvement

    Create Signs About Healthy Food Tips & Efforts

    Make Signs & Host a Celebration

    Resource Center

    Project Resource Library: Learn More!
    National & State Green Schools Programs
    Eco Schools USA Handbook
    Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
    Where Your Food Comes From: Farm-Based Education Network Resources
    Farm to School Network Resources Search Engine
    EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)