Growing Together

Developing Sustainable School Garden Programs

growtog_189x127Our Growing Together School Garden Initiative facilitates garden education at low-income, urban school campuses. By building awareness and access to nutritious food, encouraging environmental stewardship and tending healthy ecosystems, we empower students to improve the health of their school environment. The program works in partnership with schools, teachers, districts and local community to build and develop sustainable and impactful school garden programs. Enjoy a sweet student-produced video (below): Bee News, A student study of native bees and the creation of a native bee garden.

We work in a variety of areas that support these school gardens including: facilitating garden educator training, developing standards-based garden curriculum, strengthening collaborative community partners, supporting an internship program that develops future leaders, providing consistent garden support to our partner sights, working with districts to change policy around garden learning. Details are below.

Garden Educator Training

We offer training to teachers, volunteers, interns and community members. The training is offered during summer intensives, quarterly workshops, school site staff trainings and our bi-annual A Garden in Every School Symposium. A Garden Educator Workshop series will be available soon. View all training opportunities >>

Standards-Based Garden Curriculum

Next Generation Science Standards Curriculum is available through Growing Together. The curriculum is written in units by grade level and can be downloaded with a code. For more information and a preview of the NGSS Curriculum >> In addition, a yearlong garden curriculum is available with activities that relate to all school gardens and age groups.

Community Partners

Growing Together is working to build support networks around each of our school garden sights. Forming collaborative relationships and sharing valuable resources strengthens our programs. Examples include local food banks, district nutrition departments, local nurseries, community organizations, churches and political leaders. If you are interested in supporting your local school garden, email Shannon Hardwicke >>

Internship Program

In order to develop future leaders, we have established partnerships with CSUS and UC Davis. This model increases the staffing at school garden sights while providing college students with powerful learning experience. Interns mentor youth, work on student management and teach nutrition and garden lessons while developing understanding of diversity and socio-economic differences. If you would like to know more or apply to be an intern, Contact Vanessa Forwood >>

Garden Support for Partner Sights

Growing Together serves 12 school sites with garden support on a bi-weekly basis. A Soil Born staff member works with teachers to provide support and guidance around lessons, materials, garden maintenance and seasonal planting. Although this is currently funded through grants, we hope to look at a fee-for-service model in the future.

District Policy Work

Developing strong communication and shared vision with school districts is critical to all educators working in school gardens. We have been working with SCUSD and FCUSD to develop garden build standards, teacher training through the district, curriculum adoption, school orchard standards and partnership with maintenance staff.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ~Audrey Hepburn

Praise from Symposium Attendees

My co-workers and I learned a lot and we feel more prepared to bring these hands-on activities into the classroom.
I loved the content and being able to network with other teachers.
I am in awe of the talent, passion and action that is growing in our community. It is inspiring to be surrounded by like-minded people who share a common goal.
This symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for garden enthusiasts and educators to learn and network. I am so inspired and motivated.
As a low-income parent of 3 kids, it was great to meet and share strategies with others who are struggling with similar issues. I’m also absorbing fresh skills and building networks that will benefit my kids’ school.
I felt supported and rebooted with encouragement and knowledge.

View 2016 Symposium video by John Fortes >
View Outside the Box, SEL and Career Pathways video by John Fortes >
View KCRA News Report on the 2016 Symposium >
SCUSD named Gold Medal Green Ribbon District >