Did you know that 30-40% of 5th and 6th graders do not know where food comes from? What better way to introduce the subject than to start a school vegetable garden! Fast food and processed meals have replaced gardening and cooking in many homes in the U.S. One of the best ways to bring back a real understanding of healthy food and how it grows is by introducing gardening into the school curriculum.
Why start a school vegetable garden?
- Kids will be more active: Getting outside and putting their hands in the soil will enhance mood, leading to more attentive students in the classroom. Plus, being more physically active improves health overall.
- Students will eat healthier: They will be growing their own food, which leads to higher consumption of vegetables and fruit. There’s nothing better than a locally grown tomato! Learning how food grows can lead to longer term healthy eating habits.
- It teaches students new skills: By learning how food is grown, students may want to explore future careers in agriculture and horticulture.
How can an Eco Garden help you start a garden at school?
We have partnered with several school districts to get more gardening programs in front of kids. An Eco Garden Systems’ Original Garden works well with schools. This is because the water reservoir, air gap, and soil platform create a perfect growing environment. In ~60 days, kids can have fresh produce ready to eat. In a school environment, there are summer breaks, holidays, and a set schedule. But the the Eco Garden will keep on performing even when someone isn’t around 24/7.
In fact, Concordia University in St. Paul developed a white paper that proved the quicker speed-to-maturity of our gardens. Here’s what they had to say about their findings: “The bed is user friendly, and will need minimal care throughout the rest of the years it is at Concordia. Plans can be made to incorporate the bed into further classroom studies. Students would be able to work hands-on with the bed and interact with the tools used to maintain it, as well as gain further knowledge of how plants grow and function.” Concordia also noted that it would be a great tool for students in many disciplines, including science, business, and math.
How to get your school vegetable garden started
Reach out to your community: Many schools, including Minneapolis Public Schools, have started gardens. They have also partnered with us to include our elevated garden beds in their programs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to schools like Minneapolis that have gotten started to see how you can do it in your school district, too.
Look for resources online: There are also programs like National Farm to School Network that connects schools to farms that will provide local and fresh food to students. Kids Gardening helps get school gardening programs started through education, grants, and resources, as does Slow Food USA.
We believe it is possible for more schools to grow their own food, and Eco Garden can help make that a reality. Learn more about the value of an Eco Garden to your school curriculum. There are 58 million students attending 98,176 schools across the US—that allows for plenty of opportunities to start gardening programs that bring kids healthier food and healthier lifestyles.
A special thanks to the schools who have been great partners for Eco Garden Systems:
- Minneapolis Public Schools (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Mesabi East School District (Aurora, Minnesota)
- Bemidji Area Schools (Bemidji, Minnesota)
- Concordia University (St. Paul, Minnesota)
- Prosser Career Academy (Chicago, Illinois)
Tell us: Is there a gardening program at your school? We’d love to hear about your experience and how the kids are enjoying the school vegetable garden!