The KidsGardening team is thrilled to be a recipient of a 2021 USDA Farm to School Implementation Grant. Our “Growing School Food Gardens” Project will leverage the brand new Kids Garden Community to form a vibrant network devoted to growing school food gardens, cultivating support, and sharing resources that respond to the needs of garden educators across the country.
To kick off this work, we surveyed 542 school garden leaders in a preliminary needs assessment designed to gather ideas and feedback for expanding teaching tools and resources specifically for edible school garden leaders.
The majority of survey respondents report that they:
- Aspire to grow a significant amount of food in their gardens, integrate the garden into their curriculum, and gather community support in order to sustain and grow their programs.
- Feel they need more funding for supplies and staff time, material resources, more volunteers, and better access to like-minded colleagues and peers.
- Would like in-person access to these peers via professional development opportunities, networks, or conferences but also see the value in online networks.
- Want more teaching resources around culturally relevant gardening and cooking practices (especially Native American) and for teaching STEAM through the garden.
- Are optimistic about the potential of edible school gardens to grow along with their students and are willing to face the challenges to sustain them.
Want to learn more? We’ve compiled the results of the survey in this report: Growing School Food Gardens Needs Assessment Report
On January 11, 2022, we hosted a webinar on the needs of the school food garden community. We presented results of the needs assessment survey, discussed the work of school food garden educators as well as opportunities to participate in the project, and shared our next steps. The free event replay is available on Crowdcast.
This year-long project will encompass:
- The Growing School Food Gardens sub-community hosted on the Kids Garden Community to facilitate peer-to-peer learning opportunities, mentorship programs, regional networking, and resource exchanges.
- Four webinars and 12 coaching calls based on relevant and requested topics of interest.
- A Growing School Food Gardens Toolkit - a comprehensive, free virtual resource created for youth educators and leaders to create, maintain, and cultivate sustainable school food gardens.