At West Coast Seeds we are huge fans of school gardens. Nothing beats seeing a class of happy, engaged kids learning about how soil works, and how to grow food from seed. The match seems so natural, and yet school gardens are a relatively recent development. It’s hard to imagine an elementary school without a school garden these days, despite the ever-present challenge of tight budgets.
In a way, the garden itself is a classroom. Even Master Gardeners will admit that the learning curve does not end. As much experience as we can accumulate in a lifetime of gardening, there is always more to discover. It stands to reason, then, that as gardeners, we should do everything in our power to get children into the garden early, and spark their natural curiosity.
We have been very fortunate to work with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) in the development of numerous school gardens in British Columbia. SPEC has done some incredible work in making these gardens happen, and in building curriculum material for schools new to gardening.
Check out SPEC’s School Garden Start-Up Guide. It’s full of practical, solution-based advice based on years of experience. It includes excellent teaching resources and calendar planning. And as if that wasn’t enough, have a look at their lesson book, Green Thumbs at School. What a fabulous resource — and it’s open source! Download it. Share it.
School gardens create an environment to learn about where food comes from, how to cultivate soil, how to live alongside wildlife, and how to nurture life itself. This seems like an awfully good concept to support. If you know of a school that would benefit from the implementation of a gardening program, please Commit to Grow. Please share with them the links above, and see if the will can be mustered to get one going.