“Wow, what a great idea!” – “I’d heard of school gardens, but didn’t know where to start.” – “Okay, I’m interested… where do I sign my school up? How do I begin?”
To begin, GUO suggests that you speak with others in the school community to determine that there is interest and some support for a school garden. At this stage, the GUO team is available to answer questions as they arise, to offer information about the benefits of school gardens, and when interest has been piqued, present to a Parent Council meeting or to a group of interested teachers and staff.
At a presentation, or through preliminary conversations, GUO staff can offer:
- advice about site selection
- information about maintenance
- information about teacher roles and parent involvement
- timing of various garden tasks
- links to curriculum expectations
We’ve found that the most successful school garden teams include interest and support from teachers, custodial staff, administration, and parents. GUO staff will do their best to ensure the garden team can make an informed decision about whether the timing is right for adding a garden to their school.
Once a garden team has committed to a school garden, they may look to reduce start-up costs by obtaining a discount or in-kind donation from a local supplier. In addition, teams may make use of the GUO’s “Fundraising Toolkit for your Organic School Garden,” which staff makes available to participating schools.
Gardens may be built in the fall or the spring. GUO staff can coordinate the delivery of lumber and soil, and lead the construction of raised beds with students and teachers. With the use of corner brackets, self-drilling screws, and screwdrivers, everyone can participate!
Once the raised beds are built, teachers are ready to start incorporating the garden into their teaching. The best way to get started is to book the spring and fall series of workshops, delivered by GUO staff, that link essential garden tasks to curriculum expectations. GUO continues to support schools as they adopt their garden as a teaching tool, tailoring support to each school’s needs and offering personalized support to teachers.