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School Gardens

According to the 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Census, 198 Minnesota schools are growing edible gardens. Let's work together to maintain the existing gardens and plant a hundred more.

Getting Started | In the Classroom | Food Safety | On the Ground Support | Related Resources

kids working in raised gardens at Bruce Vento school

Bruce Vento Elementary School in Saint Paul. Photo credit: Judy Myers

Getting Started

Follow these steps to grow a garden that makes learning come alive for your students.

The steps above are based on Creating and Growing Edible Schoolyards from Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership and Starting and Maintaining a School Garden from the National Farm to School Network.

In the Classroom

Farm to School: Curriculum — These curricula will help make learning come alive for students of all ages and in many different subjects.

Food Safety

For students' safety, you will want to handle, store, and prepare school garden produce safely.

MN School Garden & Farm to Cafeteria SafetyStatewide Health Improvement Partnership — Follow the guidelines in this manual to ensure food safety and prevent it from becoming a barrier to using local foods or establishing a school garden. Developed in 2013 as a resource for garden planning, harvest safety, and food safety in the cafeteria.

Produce Safety Fact Sheets and VideosNational Food Service Management Institute — Find best practices for food safety in the garden and the classroom, including videos and activities. These two fact sheets are a must-read for anyone serving fresh produce from the garden:

Garden to Cafeteria (GTC) ResourcesSlow Food USA — Find tips and examples for developing the necessary food safety protocols, training workshops, and partnerships to launch your own GTC program.

young man picking lettuce

Dover Eyota Public Schools. Photo credit: Carrie Frank.

On the Ground Support

University of Minnesota Extension — Connect with a SNAP-Ed educator or a Master Gardener in your region to kickstart a collaborative effort.

Minnesota Schoolyard Garden Coalition (MNSGC) — Connect with other school gardens on the MNSGC Facebook page, at the annual conference in March, or via email at mnsgcoalition@gmail.com.

Related Resources

School Gardens: Using Gardens to Grow Healthy Habits in Cafeterias, Classrooms and CommunitiesU.S. Department of Agriculture — Fact sheet outlining guidelines, best practices, and additional resources.

Steps to a School GardenCalifornia School Garden Network — Resources for each step of managing your school garden.

School GardeningKids Gardening — Guides and activities.

School Garden ResourcesLife Lab — Curricula and resources.
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