carton 2 garden

I have fond memories of making little gingerbread houses each December in elementary school using a milk carton as the base, then covering it with icing, graham crackers and candy.  Probably not the healthiest holiday activity out there (I fully admit that not all the candy ended up on the house), but it was one of my earliest experiences in turning something that would have been trash (yep, I am old, we could not recycle paperboard in those days) into a treasure. 

carton 2 garden
Carton 2 Garden past winner

Many years later milk cartons are still a staple supply in schools across the country and available to serve as inspiration for teaching kids about the value of reusing products to reduce waste. Repurposing cartons is a fun way to provide opportunities to learn about conserving our natural resources and protecting our environment.  Even better, through the Carton 2 Garden Contest you can win money for your school garden program through your environmental education endeavors!

I like to say that entering the Carton 2 Garden Contest is as easy as 1, 2, 3 (does anyone else hear young Michael Jackson’s voice with that phrase? I digress…):

  1. Save empty milk and juice cartons.
  2. Creatively re-purpose cartons to build or enhance your school garden program while engaging students in hands-on activities that foster environmental stewardship and healthy living (sorry, no candy-coated gingerbread houses).
  3. Capture the results of your efforts with photos and video, and complete the online entry form by Monday, April 16, 2018 for your chance to win one of 14 prizes up to $5,000.

I love how open-ended this contest is because it gives you and your students room to let your imaginations run wild. Reading through the entries is a delight because they always blow me away with their creativity and ingenuity. I highly recommend checking out some of our past winners to spark your brainstorming.  Click here to visit the Carton2 Garden Inspiration page. You can also read through some more in-depth program spotlight stories from our 2017 winners:

Lemon Avenue Elementary School

PS 135 Q The Bellaire School

Medea Creek Middle School Garden Club

The Carton 2 Garden Contest is open to all schools serving any grades from PreK-12. There is no entry fee.  You do not have to have an existing garden program at your school to enter. Visit for complete details. 

Think you might be interested in participating this year?  You can complete our short online Interest Registration form to receive additional information and free seeds to help you get started. Questions?  Email us at [email protected].

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