School garden projects ideas

Garden Club

Among the most popular fundraising projects are the ones that are developed by garden clubs. If you have ever visited or seen pictures of a garden club beautification site, a memorial that has been integrated into a garden, or other such outdoor installations, you know how beloved they quickly become within a community. The sight of beautifully inscribed pavers pieced into an elegant mosaic path or wall creates a distinctive sense of place. No wonder engraved pavers fundraising has become one of the most effective ways to generate donations.

Most garden clubs depend on the funding that they receive from membership dues, community contributions, earned income from hosting events, and yearly fundraising efforts. In order to carry out their mission of education and community outreach, many garden clubs have instituted a core group of members whose focus is on fundraising efforts. Such efforts are not unlike gardening. You start with a few “seeds” in the form of initial donations, you tend to the growth of the fund, and you patiently sustain the process from season to season.

Like gardening, engraved pavers fundraising doesn’t happen overnight. Many hands make light work in a garden, and we at Fundraising Brick can enrich the growth process with our many years of insight into the fundraising process. Because garden club fundraisers are competing for an ever-shrinking pool of donor dollars, it’s essential that the fundraising campaign engages potential donors on an emotional level. It also needs to generates a high response rate and a sufficient average donation amount over the course of the campaign. It should also allow you to encourage your best givers to keep on giving over time.

In planning the engraved brick and tile fundraising event, draw on your experience as a green thumb to keep the donated “green” coming in, too! For example, consider the scale of the designated site. Is it big enough to accommodate a sufficient number of bricks? Does it allow room for possible expansion in the event that you exceed your fundraising goals? Consider, too, the number and extent of your fundraising sources. Who and where are your donors? Could you scale donation amounts into tiers in order to attract the highest possible percentage of participation?

Above all, you need to make sure that the quality, durability, and style of the bricks will allow you to create the garden that you have in mind. By selecting Fundraising Brick as your partner, you’re insuring that the garden will generate high interest throughout the campaign and offer plenty of enjoyment for decades to follow.

We can help in many other ways as well:

  • Review our Frequently Asked Questions page for practical solutions to the most common fundraising issues.
  • Browse our Fundraising Tips and Ideas to fuel your committee’s brainstorming sessions.
  • View examples of our brick fundraiser marketing brochures, which are customizable to your engraved pavers fundraising campaign.
  • Contact us or call us at 1-855-BRICKS4U (855-958-0516) to find out more about our wide array of support services.

Garden Clubs of America | Fundraising Opportunities

Across the United States there is a group that is dedicated to recording and preserving the gardens of America. This organization is known as the Garden Clubs of America. Today they have over 18,000 members and over 200 chapters throughout the nation.

This non-profit group started in 1913 and today they award over $200,000 a year in scholarships.

The scholarships cover areas of interest ranging from desert studies to botany. The group is a proud supporter in the education process and has a goal to “promote greater understanding of the interdependence of horticulture, environmental protection, and community improvement.”

Of course, these scholarships need funds themselves. Many state chapters of the Garden Clubs of America choose to fundraise with Rada Cutlery to make the scholarships, as well as for various other projects.

Garden Clubs Fundraising with Rada

Garden Clubs of America have used Rada Cutlery as a fundraiser for their chapters and receive a 40% profit on their fundraising sales. The Conejo Valley Garden Club in California is selling Rada Cutlery products.

The leader said, “I bought my first knife in Bainbridge, New York last month and love it.”

Now the group will be selling the Rada Cutlery items to raise money for their organization for funds to go toward scholarships and other local garden projects throughout the community.

All of Rada’s products are manufactured in Waverly, Iowa and are 100% Made in the USA. People appreciate the opportunity to purchase high-quality, useful kitchen products while supporting a good fundraising cause. Perhaps that is why over 19,000 non-profit groups each year choose to fundraise by selling Rada Cutlery kitchen knives, utensils and gift sets. Other Rada Cutlery fundraising products offered in the catalog include cookbooks, stoneware, and Quick Mixes, so there’s always something for everyone!

The Garden Club of America is a good fit for fundraising with Rada products because of their support and commitment to preserving gardens throughout the United States.

You can read more about this gift they are giving to the nation on the Garden Clubs of America website.

Along with the Garden Clubs of America there is also an organization called National Garden Clubs Inc. This club serves the same mission as the Garden Clubs of America, “to provides education, resources and national networking opportunities for its members to promote the love of gardening, floral design, civic and environmental responsibility.”

If you want to read more about what the National Garden Clubs of America does and the projects they are currently involved in you, can visit their website.

The Best Recipe Blog!

Rada Cutlery’s official blog is bursting with delectable recipes the whole family will love! Whatever the dish and occasion, you’re certain to find the perfect recipe, as well as a number of other articles on fundraising, kitchen products, and more!

Get Your Fundraiser Started!

Since 1948, Rada Cutlery has been the partner of choice for tens of thousands of non-profit groups each year. By hosting a Rada Cutlery fundraiser, groups can offer their supporters Rada’s incredible products, with each sale earning an astounding 40% profit! Churches, schools, civic organizations, charities, sports teams, and more get where they need to be by teaming up with Rada.

Starting a Rada Cutlery fundraiser is easy. All you have to do is contact us for a free catalog, review your options, and get to fundraising!

Take a look at our fundraising catalog to learn more about Rada products and fundraisers!

Check out the Rada Cutlery EASY guide to learn more about why a Rada fundraiser is what’s best for your group!

SummaryArticle Name Garden Clubs of America Fundraising Description The Garden Clubs of America find the perfect fundraising partner with Rada Cutlery. Superior customer service and unbeatable products ensure that any Garden Clubs fundraising with Rada will meet their goals and more. Author Rada Cutlery

School garden fundraising ideas

Its mid-summer and we are in the thick of prime garden tour time! Garden tours can be wonderfully educational, inspirational and a fun way to raise funds. Typically, fundraising is my least favorite activity associated with school gardens. However, I enjoy working to organize school garden tours, plant and produce sales to raise funds and provide meaningful educational experiences for students.

Summer is a popular tour time as gardens are often at their zenith in terms of flowering and fruiting. Fall Garden Tours have their own high points, such as fall crops, crisp air and autumn colors. Summertime can be a less than optimal time for a school garden tour, as school is out for summer vacation, and it can be difficult to get either teachers, students or parents to participate. Additionally, some schools do not have active gardens in the summer due to the absence of students and teachers.

Notable exceptions include schools with summer programming, and those schools that have mastered summer garden maintenance. A summer school garden tour can be a great way to get school staff and students back together to touch base during the summer hiatus.

Regardless of when you choose to hold a school garden tour, it is an excellent way to showcase all the cool things going on in the garden to people who may not normally have a chance to experience it. Tours are also a great opportunity for students to lead tours, talk about something they are knowledgeable (and hopefully passionate) about and practice public speaking skills. This is also a great time to emphasize any academic work or projects that are linked to the garden. All of these activities can stimulate participants to show their appreciation and support. Funds can be raised by charging a tour admission fee, or by providing a staffed container for donations. A Fall School Garden Tour can also coincide with sales of pumpkins, apples and spring blooming bulbs to increase your fund raising efforts. For a good example of a Michigan School Garden Tour, visit this for an article with great pictures about the Dexter School Garden Tour.

A plant sale is also a great vehicle for fundraising and education. Students can gain experience in seed germination, propagation and long range planning when determining the start date to make sure the seedlings will be big enough by the date of the sale. Houseplants propagated by stem cuttings are a great educational project if you have access to a greenhouse. Plant sales can also be a great opportunity for students to learn about salesmanship and profit, and again, to showcase the students’ efforts to the community while raising funds.

A youth farm stand can achieve many goals in addition to fundraising. Youth farm stands at the school increases community access to fresh produce and encourages consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables by youth and adults. They also teach business skills to students, and provide a valuable commodity to their community.

I would always encourage you to tap into your school’s Parent Teacher Organization to assist in any of the above efforts. A school 4-H garden club can also be an asset when it comes to generating enthusiasm and funds.

Michigan State University Extension has great resources to help you carry out any of the above educational and fund raising activities, and you can contact Kristine Hahn at 248-802-4590 for assistance.

Garden club looking for presentation topics for upcoming meetings.

Onion seed-head popping open

Sometimes writing headlines can really be challenging. I tried all kind of catchy words but the bottom line is, we want to know what topics you would like to explore in the coming months.

What might be of interest to me might be way off target for the group in general, so we would like to know what subjects YOU would like to hear discussed. The one catch to this is that if you want to explore the hermaphroditic lifestyle of the Eisenia foetida (red wiggler worm) we would like you to attend the meeting.

Attending means to be here with us, but there are no other requirements. We can put together a basic presentation that is filled with interesting facts and pictures and then “we” share our experiences, knowledge and best of all, ask questions. We will try to keep the subject small enough that we can cover it in 1 hour and have some time to socialize if we want, or not.

If you have expertise in some subject and want to lead the discussion, COME ON DOWN! We would love to welcome you to our group. Don’t wear anything formal though, we often come straight from our garden, so the dress code (which we don’t have) can be very casual.

Here are some ideas to get the creative ideas flowing: (if you don’t know what some of these are, what an opportunity!)

Composting in Middle Tennessee

Vermi-culture (worms) Why would you want to do it and how?

Identifying and amending soils of Middle Tennessee

Test soil for type, organic matter, minerals, nutrients, cation exchange capacity (I just love these big terms?)

Best disease resistant flowers, vegetables, fruits, grass, ….?

Making a water feature, goldfish pond, bog garden

Herbs for Middle Tennessee, growing, drying, oils, cooking

Pushing the limits on plants that are not supposed to grow here

Raised beds, sunken beds, xeriscaping, edible landscaping

Handicapped gardening, Horticultural therapy

Tools, antique, practical, strange, enabling, where to get

Selecting garden placement, plant requirements,

Planting for animals, amphibians, butterflies, birds, etc.

Ornamental plants, flowers, rare, unique, heirloom

Plant swaps, seed swaps, seed saving

Garden insects, good, bad, controlling, encouraging, identifying

Weeds, control, identifying, how do they grow, what do they tell you

Garden photo tours, actual tours, garden photography

Indoor gardening, what can we grow in the winter

If you don’t want to express your ideas in public, write to me. If we have hit all the exact things you would like, great, tell me. In other words, vote for which ones come first

I have to STOP going back to the list. That’s it! Talk to us!

By the way Mary, thanks for the plug in the paper.

Community Garden Ideas – Ideas For Garden Club Projects

Now that your garden club or community garden is up and running with an enthusiastic group of avid gardeners, what’s next? If you’re stumped when it comes to ideas for garden club projects, or you need community garden ideas that keep members engaged, read on for a few suggestions to pique your creativity.

Ideas for Community Garden Projects

Here are some popular garden club project ideas to help spark your creativity.

Community wildlife certification – This is a major project done in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Community Wildlife Habitat Program, which encourages citizens to create wildlife-friendly communities. The National Wildlife Federation’s website provides suggestions for homes, schools and communities to create NWF-certified wildlife habitats.

Historic preservation – If you have historic sites in your community, beautifying the area is one of the most rewarding garden club project ideas and a great way to showcase spectacular heirloom roses or perennials. Contact your local historical society or cemetery district to inquire how your organization can help.

Garden tour – An annual or semi-annual garden tour is a fantastic way to showcase the beautiful gardens in your area. Ask garden club members to serve as greeters or tour guides to keep the flow of traffic moving smoothly. You can also create self-tour handouts to pinpoint specific plants or highlight a garden’s unique history. Charge a reasonable fee to turn this into a major fundraising project for your organization.

Host a flower show – According to the National Garden Club, a flower show is both social and educational and, most importantly, spreads the word about the endless pleasure of gardening. A flower show is also a perfect way to raise funds while connecting with potential new members.

Garden Club Ideas for Schools

Need some ideas for school garden projects? Here’s some to help get you started.

Host a mini-garden show – Encourage school kids to participate in your organization’s flower show, or help them create their own smaller version. What better way to show off a handcrafted bird house or those avocado seed projects?

Arbor Day celebration – Honor Arbor Day by planting a bush or tree at a location such as a park, school or nursing home. The Arbor Day Foundation offers a number of suggestions; for example, you can make the day extra special by creating a skit, story, concert or short theatrical presentation. Your organization can also sponsor a craft show, host a block party, schedule a class, visit the oldest or largest tree in your community, or organize a hike.

Protect a pollinator – This program offers children an opportunity to learn about the critical role that bees and other pollinators play in food production and a healthy environment. If your school is willing, a small wildlife garden or meadow is extremely rewarding.

Otherwise, help kids create pollinator-friendly container gardens using plants such as:

  • Bee balm
  • Alyssum
  • Salvia
  • Lavender

Plant a hummingbird garden – It doesn’t require a lot of space or money to create a garden that attracts flocks of hummingbirds. Help kids select plants that hummingbirds love, especially those with tube-shaped blooms so the hummers’ long tongues can reach the sweet nectar. Be sure the garden includes sunny spots for basking as well as shade for resting and cooling. Although the birds are highly attracted to red, they’ll visit nearly any nectar-rich plant. Remember, no pesticides!

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Gardening in containers can make a big impact on your landscape!

Image by Cathy Barnes, Schuyler County

What vegetables are easy to grow at home?

Image by Sandy Repp

Learn some easy tips for designing an attractive flower garden.

Gardening Presentations

Add something special to your organization’s event with informative university research-based “mini courses” and programs. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE-NC) offers a variety of gardening programs for presentation to area civic or community associations, libraries, garden clubs and societies, adult education programs and fraternal organizations, for a nominal cost.

Experienced CCE-NC personnel and Cornell Master Gardeners provide in-depth 75 to 90 minute presentations with Q&A sessions for $150 per presentation.

For more information and to schedule programs for your community group, call the CCE Horticultural Center at 516-433-7970 ext. 50.

A Selection of Available Topics:

BUTTERFLIES, BEES & OTHER POLLINATORS AND THEIR IMPORTANCE (PowerPoint Lecture)

Pollinators are very important for our existence. This presentation will take you into the World of Pollinators and explain who they are, why they are important, what they do, why they are declining, and how to help them survive.

CONTAINER GARDENING MADE EASY (PowerPoint Lecture)

Not enough space or just want to add interest to your home? Learn about one of the hottest trends in gardening – growing plants in a wide variety of containers. A container garden can enhance an entranceway, solve a landscape challenge or beautify a deck or patio, or add elegance around a pool. Learn how to choose your container, design a container planting and maintain your mini garden throughout the garden season.

FALL PLANTING OF SPRING BULBS (PowerPoint Lecture)

Fall is a great time to start thinking of the following spring and how you can make your gardens beautiful with spring flowering bulbs. Spring Bulb topics that will be covered include: identification, selection, design, planting, animal deterrence and dividing. Also learn how to grow bulbs in containers. This lecture will take you through very early to late blooming spring bulbs that you may never have thought of growing.

FLOWER GARDEN DESIGN BASICS (PowerPoint Lecture)

Have you always wanted a flower garden but don’t know where to start? This presentation’s focus is on key elements to think about when designing your garden including height, color, texture and site. Following these tips will help you to be successful.

GARDEN TO TABLE VEGETABLES (PowerPoint Lecture)

Home Vegetable Gardening is on the rise, harkening back to our “Victory Garden” past. There is nothing like eating a slice of your own homegrown tomato. Are you thinking about starting a vegetable garden or just need a little advice? Let us help you learn to choose the right location for your veggies, prepare your soil, and decide between vegetables from seeds or transplants. Learn general maintenance needs that will lead to bountiful harvests.

GOLD MEDAL PLANTS (PowerPoint Lecture)

Covered in this presentation is the Gold Metal Plant Program for Long Island. These plants have proven performance, are pest-free and have multi-seasonal ornamental appeal for Long Island gardens. These plants are easily grown and readily available for Long Island.

GROWING HOUSEPLANTS SUCCESSFULLY (PowerPoint Lecture)

Having success with Houseplants can often be a challenge to both beginners and those with some houseplant experience. This lecture aims to give you the basic knowledge you will need to grow beautiful houseplants successfully. Besides their Health Benefits, the following will be discussed in detail: Cultural Requirements, Maintenance, Repotting, Propagation, Problems and Pests. After all these topics have been discussed, many Easy Care/Fool Proof Houseplants will be covered so you can have success with the knowledge you just acquired.

HERB GARDENING (PowerPoint Lecture)

In this lecture we will describe herb plants, their uses and how to grow them. Some herbs are grown as edible, others as therapeutic and some for their fragrance. Basil, dill, chives, oregano, mint and marigolds are just a few of the many we will discuss that are suitable for Long Island. Gardening with herbs is fun, easy and useful.

HOME COMPOSTING (PowerPoint Lecture)

Learn Home Composting from a Presentation created by the Cornell Compost Committee Master Gardeners. Topics that will be discussed include: what to compost; how the process works; the importance of heat, oxygen and moisture; composting systems; uses of compost and its benefits.

LANDSCAPING WITH TREES AND SHRUBS (PowerPoint Lecture)

Often when designing a landscape you do not realize what Trees and Shrubs will do well in your yard or commercial property on Long Island. This presentation will give you some basic knowledge needed for planting and selecting trees and shrubs. It will then highlight 30 trees/shrubs that do well on Long Island with their photos, care and requirements. This presentation should help you design a successful landscape.

LAWN CARE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT (Advanced PowerPoint Lecture)

This in-depth lecture will give you all the information you need to show off your lawn to your neighbors. Proper mowing, watering and fertilization, disease, insect and weed control, thatch and core aeration are just some of the topics discussed. The leaching potential of fertilizers and pesticides into Long Island ground water is high and will be an important focus. We will explain pesticides and who is allowed to use them as well as lawn care without pesticides. This is also a chance for the homeowner to become more informed so that they can have meaningful discussions with their landscaper.

LAWN CARE FOR THE HOME ENVIRONMENT (PowerPoint Lecture) (New 2020)

This presentation is a shorter version of the in-depth LAWN CARE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT presentation and is designed for the homeowner.

NATIVE PLANTS IN THE HOME LANDSCAPE (PowerPoint Lecture) (Revised 2019)

Why is everybody talking about native plants? Gardening with well-adapted native plants is not only beneficial for the ecosystem, but also for growers. In this lecture, we will discuss what native plants are, how they differ from their non-native counterparts, and why they are important to consider when making plant choices for your landscape. We will cover examples of native plants suitable for a home landscape on Long Island, from trees down to ground covers, and we will explain how to incorporate native plants into your garden.

PERENNIAL GARDENING (PowerPoint Lecture)

Herbaceous perennials are plants that bloom year after year. Their tops die back to the ground each fall but their crowns and root systems remain alive (though dormant) during winter. This lecture will cover their needs such as light, soil, fertilization, pruning, water and air circulation. The lecture will also cover many different varieties of perennials

PRUNING FOR THE HOMEOWNER (PowerPoint Lecture)

Pruning can often be confusing since different shrubs and trees require different pruning methods at different times. This lecture is designed to give a homeowner the information they will need to take care of almost all their woody pruning needs. Discussed in this lecture will be the Reasons for Pruning; Benefits of Pruning; Pruning Equipment; and Timing and Proper Tree Pruning. In addition, pruning for various shrubs and trees will be discussed in detail such as: Flowering Shrubs, Hydrangeas, Roses, Evergreens, Fruits & Trees.

PRUNING ORNAMENTALS IN THE HOME LANDSCAPE (PowerPoint Lecture)

Proper maintenance of your trees and shrubs is important for their health as well as for safety. This presentation is an in-depth lecture about pruning trees, deciduous shrubs and evergreen shrubs in your home landscape. The pruning topics covered will include: reasons, timing and ways to prune and what equipment should be used. Learn the proper pruning methods, rejuvenation techniques and how to manipulate shrubs into small trees.

PUTTING YOUR GARDEN TO BED (PowerPoint Lecture)

Proper care of your landscape in the fall is important to the success of your plants for the next season. This course discusses what to do in the garden to get ready for winter. Topics include: perennials, lawn care, bulbs, vegetable gardens, soil pH testing and composting.

If you follow these practical tips you will be amazed by the improved results next spring.

ROSE GARDENING BASICS (PowerPoint Lecture)

Don’t let rumors about roses being “too much work” discourage you from enjoying the “Queen of Flowers”. Learn how to get your roses off to a winning start with careful selection, proper planting, pruning and maintenance. Earth-Kind roses and their easy care reputation will be covered.

SEASHORE GARDENING (PowerPoint Lecture)

Gardening along our Long Island coastlines presents many challenges. This lecture will assist you in planning and planting a successful seashore landscape. The presentation will provide information on soil, native plants, trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Seashore vegetable gardening will also be included.

SEED SAVING INTRODUCTION: (PowerPoint Lecture) (New 2020)

Beginning in the latter part of the 20th century, there has been a major shift to purchasing seed from commercial seed suppliers. This shift is leading to a reduction in North America’s diverse garden heritage for future generations. This presentation will cover what seeds are, pollination and the difference between heirlooms & pollinated seeds. Participants will learn the basics needed to save their own seeds so that they too may reap the exciting benefits the original seed savers did.

SELECTING AND PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS (PowerPoint Lecture)

This in-depth lecture covers everything you need to know to select and plant the best tree/shrub for your landscape. It discusses: Selecting a Container, Balled & Burlapped or a Bare root plant. How to assess the tree and proper placement. Optimum planting time and methods. Fertilizing, Mulching & Watering. The knowledge you gain from this presentation will help you to plant and grow a healthy tree/shrub.

SUSTAINABILITY FOR THE HOME GARDENER (PowerPoint Lecture)

This lecture will look at how the home gardener can incorporate sustainable gardening practices in their own home gardening. It will incorporate the topics of the advanced lecture listed below.

SUSTAINABILITY IN THE HOME LANDSCAPE (Advanced – PowerPoint Lecture)

Recently we have taken a more serious look at our landscape practices and what we are recognizing is the permanent damage we have caused by the poor use of our resources and the need to protect these resources for the future. This is accomplished by optimum environmental and human health benefits for current and future generations by meeting the demands of today without compromising tomorrow’s needs and at the same time recognizing the strain on soil, water and natural resources.

This Advanced lecture will look at Sustainable Home Landscape practices including: Lawns, Pesticides, Irrigation, Trees, Soil, Water, Runoff, Vegetation, Native Plants, Trees, Recycle & Reuse, and Sustainable versus Not Sustainable Materials. At the end of this lecture you will have the knowledge needed to make better choices planning and maintaining your Home Landscape and doing your part to protect our environment for future generations.

WAKE UP YOUR GARDEN (PowerPoint Lecture)

Successful gardens and landscapes are the result of proactive gardeners and growers! Learn what needs to be done to get your garden up and growing at the beginning of spring. Lawn care, soil testing, mulching, watering and the care of flowers and spring bulbs are some of the topics that will be discussed. Start the season off with a strong viable landscape.

Education Outreach
This program is intended to raise community awareness of the Meridian Garden Club and to educate community members about gardening practices and the benefits of gardening. It visibly demonstrates the encyclopedic gardening knowledge of club members. In 2013/14, members made presentations on horticultural topics and floral design at a local bookstore, demonstrated container design at a local senior center, published articles on horticultural topics in a community magazine, and undertook a program to read books on nature and gardening to pre-school children. The Club’s youth initiatives are designed to encourage an interest in gardening and environmental responsibility. In 2014, the Club’s Backdoor Gardeners spent a day with local second graders, who learned about the origins of pioneer food and the contributions of Native Americans living in the area before tucking earthworms into the garden soil and planting beans in pots to be taken home. At the August Historic Village day camp, young visitors learned about pioneer farmers and helped install “Marley”, the scarecrow, into the picket fence garden.

Turns out that kids should be encouraged to play with their food. School garden projects and the research behind them provide proof of the ample benefits created from allowing children to get closer to the source of their food. Programs such as School Garden Project of Lane County (in Oregon) intend to literally and figuratively put the earth in the hands of our youth in order to show them, first-hand, the power they have to influence it. School garden projects provide the opportunity for kids to get outside, dig up some dirt, and plant seeds that will ensure the next generations have the tools they need to make informed, healthy lifestyle choices and craft a sustainable future for themselves and the planet. Here are seven ways that getting down and dirty in the garden—through the powerful impacts of school garden projects—can change the world from the ground up.

1. School garden projects empower youth with knowledge about nutrition.
For too long, the American education system has left nutrition out of the curriculum. This practical knowledge is imperative to the development and long-term health of children. It’s time for youth to understand that ketchup, contrary to the USDA’s proposal, is not a vegetable. School garden projects promote a hands-on approach to learning about nutrition that breaks up the monotony of the classroom and shows children the health benefits and deliciousness of a plant-based diet. Access to healthy foods and information is essential to provide children with the resources they need to consume a balanced, whole-foods diet. According to the School Garden Project of Lane County, “Research supports school garden and farm-to-school education as an effective strategy to increase science lesson retention, as well as increase children’s preference for eating fruits and vegetables.”

2. School garden projects inspire kids to take ownership of their health, defeat obesity, and increase longevity.
As a nation with consistently high rates of obesity, Americans face an ongoing threat to their health and longevity. According to the Trust for America’s Health, our nation’s rate of obese individuals has increased from 15-percent to over 30-percent since 1980 and has tripled in children. Leaders in the medical field continue to stress the link between overconsumption of animal products and obesity, as well as the strong ties between a plant-based diet and healthier body mass index. School garden projects have made it part of their mission to fight obesity with knowledge by showing children the link between animal products and obesity and the power of eating plants to reduce obesity rates. Taking action in the garden will help youth to internalize information in order to make informed decisions about their diet and avoid developing bad eating habits that will be much harder to break later in life, thus increasing the health, longevity, and awareness of the next generation.

3. School garden projects help the community to eliminate food deserts.
Food deserts are a major issue affecting communities with low socioeconomic status (SES) and limited access to fresh, healthy foods. Teachers and students in low-income schools face the challenges of living in a food desert daily, where the food available is primarily fast-food and there are no grocery stores for miles. School garden projects facilitate the opportunity for children to gain access to healthy foods in spite of their location or SES. Projects set up by organizations and schools such as The University of Baltimore open up school garden projects to the community and encourage collaboration to help increase access to healthy food on a larger scale.

4. School garden projects promote responsibility and understanding of sustainability.
In addition to the surplus of health benefits, the vegan community saves a remarkable amount of water, emissions, and resources. According to the documentary Cowspiracy, “A vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life” every day. Enlightening children about the impact of their dietary choices have on the planet—the very thing they have been getting in touch with through their gardening project—is an opportunity that mother nature cannot miss.

5. School garden projects foster compassion and save countless animal lives.
Giving children first-hand experience with sustainably-sourced food, and explaining its benefits, will inspire them to ask questions and open up the conversation about the larger food system and those it affects. When presented with all the facts about nutrition, sustainability, and the inhumane treatment of animals used for food, younger generations will have the ability to make informed decisions about choosing a plant-based diet, lifestyle, and promoting a more compassionate world.

6. School garden projects instill confidence and validation in children.
America’s education system, often referred to as the Great Equalizer, is riddled with trite ideas of opportunity that often ignore the larger systemic issues that hold kids back in school such as stereotype threat and prescribed notions of who should do what. Stereotype threat is a phenomenon that has been shown recurringly in classroom settings, which causes girls and children of color to fear self-fulfilling prophecies about their gender or race stereotypes and inhibits performance in academics. The garden offers an environment free from the structured climate of the classroom—an equal playing field where everyone can succeed through hard work. School garden projects provide a space where students can gain confidence and see that with a little hard work, their capable hands can produce success.

7. School garden projects create a hands-on generation of practical activists.
Once America’s youth has been armed with the wealth of knowledge they are exposed to through school gardening projects, they can carry forth this awareness into the world with a deliberate sense of empowerment. The best part is that these kids have learned not to be afraid of getting their hands dirty to produce something beautiful and worthwhile. Whether it be a fresh tomato that has taken hard work and patience to cultivate, or a more sustainable, compassionate, and healthy lifestyle that they are excited to try, they will have the tools to make their garden flourish and share the fruits of their labor with the world.

Courtney Lodin is a VegNews Editorial Assistant with a passion for pirates, Redwoods, and all things furry.

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Gardening is a great way to meet science standards, no matter what grade you teach. Whether you’re studying plant life cycle, botany, ecosystems, or something else, there are likely gardening projects out there to bring hands-on learning to your classroom. And there’s no experience required either.

For years, I’ve been writing about plants and gardening with kids, and I also do a lot of gardening with my own children. I know it can seem a bit involved to bring gardening into your classroom, but it doesn’t have to be. To give you some ideas, I’ve divided these classroom gardening ideas into three levels, from beginning gardener to green-thumb expert. I hope they inspire you to get gardening this month.

Level 1: Stick to the basics

You don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a big plant or gardening project, but you’d love something creative to meet your science unit. Does this sound like you? These classroom gardening ideas are what you’re looking for.

1. Get a free printable on the parts of a plant.

Teaching the parts of a plant is a classic science lesson for young learners, and you can easily find free resources with a quick search on Pinterest. Here’s one of our favorites from Itsy Bitsy Fun.

2. Make an anchor chart about tops and bottoms.

SOURCE: Sommer’s Lion Pride

Do veggies grow down or up? This is a great question to discuss with students, and there’s a fantastic book called Tops & Bottoms that is also a great tool. Use this chart to talk to your students about the different types of veggies you can grow and whether you eat their top or their bottom.

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3. Watch our plant life cycle video.

Beans are probably the most popular way to teach plant life cycle, because you can really see the progress each step of the way. You can show this video to students and have a discussion, or you can even set it up to try in your own classroom.

4. Learn about decomposers.

What is a decomposer, and what does it have to do with gardening? This is a greater starter video to better understand the role of decomposers. If you want to do even more with this lesson, check Level 3 for a project you do with worms.

Level 2: Kick it up a notch.

You really like project-based learning. Your classroom science lessons often include hands-on opportunities, but you’d still like to wrap this up in a few hours or a couple of days at most. Sound like you? Here are some classroom gardening ideas for you.

5. Make your own color-changing flowers.

SOURCE: Fun Learning for Kids

Students will gain understanding about how plants “drink” and are nourished through this color-changing experiment. All you need is white carnations and some food coloring. This is a good experiment that can be combined with a lesson on understanding plant parts and how they work.

6. Recycle paper and make your own seed bombs.

There are a couple of ways to make seed bombs, including using recycled paper or a clay mixture. If you have a lot of recycled paper sitting in your classroom bin, it might make for the perfect excuse to turn it into seed bombs (aka seed balls).

7. Make your own mini greenhouse.

SOURCE: Hazel and Company

The greenhouse effect comes full circle in this seed-starting experiment. Plant some seeds in an egg carton and wrap it in plastic, creating a greenhouse effect, and some seeds in a carton without covering it in plastic. Help your students understand the greenhouse effect and why the one wrapped in plastic grows so much faster.

8. Try a science experiment about bullying and plants.

SOURCE: IKEA

Does bullying affect plants? Read more about this incredible experiment and consider recreating it on your own.

9. Start your own seeds.

SOURCE: Burlap & Denim

There are so many ways you can start seeds in your classroom. One of the best ways is to use old toilet paper rolls. It’s easy—and free!

10. Try to grow new plants from kitchen scraps.

SOURCE: What Do We Do All Day

It’s so much fun to watch ordinary scraps grow into whole new plants. If you want to learn how to do this and give it a try in your classroom, get some tips here.

11. Try a pollination simulation activity.

SOURCE: Around the Kampfire

Gardens need creatures like birds, bees, and butterflies. Check out this pollination simulation activity from Around the Kampfire. It will really help your students understand the link between plants and animals.

Level 3: Let’s go all out #PlantNerd

You love plants, and the garden is a happy place for you. You’d love to share this hobby with your students because there are so many great lessons and curriculum to be learned. If this sounds like you, then these classroom gardening ideas will make you starry-eyed.

12. Create a mini ecosystem.

SOURCE: Inspire Lifelong Learning

We love this teacher on Instagram who makes mini ecosystems in her classroom each year. This is a really great lesson for students, and there’s even an opportunity for a class pet. To learn more about how to pull this activity off in your classroom, check out the blog Layers of Learning .

13. Try a soil erosion experiment.

SOURCE: Life is a Garden

What’s the importance of vegetation and plants? This is a wonderful hands-on experiment that will help your students gain understanding. It will take a few days to really see results, but this is one they will remember. Take a look at how to do this experiment here.

14. Make an exploding seed pod.

SOURCE: Around the Kampfire

Here’s one more activity from Around the Kampfire. This one dives into the deeper topic of how seeds are dispersed. It involves a balloon, so students are sure to love trying it out. Learn how to do it here.

15. Show how earthworms help the garden.

If you want to take it up another notch, bring worms to your classroom. Talk about earthworms and how they help the garden. If you’re looking for books to use, projects to do, or lessons to learn, check out Lemon Lime Adventures. She has some great ideas.

16. Start a school garden.

This one might be the most ambitious of all. If you really love plants, then consider starting a garden at your school. The good news is, if this appeals to you, there are a lot of school garden grants to help you out. Or you can just take on a small project with your class to beautify the school, add bird-friendly plants, grow natives, or more.

17. Introduce composting to your classroom or school.

SOURCE: YESC Seattle

This school is setting a great example of introducing composting in their classroom. If you can encourage your school to have a composting bin in the lunch room, this is a great start. (Or you can start one yourself.) If this is too much, at least use it as a starting point to talk about composting and how it works.

18. Start a monarch awareness campaign.

Monarch butterfly on a flower

Monarchs need milkweed in order to survive, and the overall numbers (of milkweed and monarchs) are on the decline. You can talk to students about why monarchs need milkweed (it’s their host plant) and even establish your own monarch habitat at your school as part of your gardening efforts. Another idea is to just create an awareness campaign about the importance of gardening for monarchs. You can get milkweed seed and send it home with kids or hand it out to those able to plant.

Do you have great gardening ideas? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE groupon Facebook.

Plus, check out our article on how to reduce the carbon footprint in your classroom.

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