Tuesday, February 17, 2015


The long,cold & snowy winter in New England isn't quite so bad if I have something to look forward to. As soon as the winter solstice arrives in December, I think positively and remind myself that the shortest days are now behind me. At the time of writing this post the first day of spring, March 20, is only 32 days away.It won't be long before the bright green shoots of spring bulbs emerge and seeds for the garden will need to be started indoors.

So if your school has yet to start a garden now is the time to put the wheels in motion. You may or may not be aware that there is a nationwide movement to encourage schools to build gardens on their property. Gardens can be used to teach children about topics such as ecology, science, math, art and more. Children also learn where food comes from, how it is grown and the importance of fresh food. Often,this early childhood experience is the beginning of lifelong love of gardening and environmental stewardship.

Alice Waters, restaurateur and founder of the The Edible Schoolyard Project, is a pioneer in this school garden movement. It was over 20 years ago when she got involved with a school in Berkeley, California. She noticed that the school’s grounds were neglected and with the support of the principal embarked on a project to improve the grounds. They proceeded to build a garden and teaching kitchen that could become tools for enriching the curriculum and life of the school community. The schoolyard garden movement proceeded to spread across the country.

This is one example of how lives of children can be changed with the introduction of gardens on the school grounds. Over the years as the movement has expanded there are many national and local networks, grants, resources available to encourage and assist schools in this important and beneficial addition to their school yard. One of my favorites is Life Lab  and in response to the growing interest in school gardens in New Hampshire, a new network for School & Youth Gardens  sprung up. Both sites are worth visiting and using as a resource.
The Edible Schoolyard Project

Ready to get started? 

The next few posts will provide a guide to the process of planning and creating a garden at your school or childcare center and integrating it into your curriculum.