School gardens are the ultimate outdoor classroom! They provide authentic, real-world, inquiry-based learning that is hands-on, educational, and fun. Best of all, school gardens can be used to integrate any classroom subject while meeting a variety of curriculum standards. Kids are more active and more engaged in a school garden and, as an added benefit, they are exploring and tasting new healthy foods! Research demonstrates that kids love to eat what they help grow, just as they love learning when they are actively involved in the process.
Beyond the education standards, school gardens provide appealing and nutritious vegetables, fruits, and herbs that can be used to supplement the school lunch program and provide the raw materials for classroom activities. There are different models of school gardens all over the world, country, and region. Gardens can serve many purposes and can take many shapes; the only limit is the imagination of you and your students.
This guide presents creative ways to plan, plant, and maintain a garden in Northeast Iowa in a way that aligns planting and harvesting with the school year. We hope that this guide will serve as a helpful and inspiring resource for schools in Northeast Iowa and beyond.
“Growing a School Garden: A Guide for Northeast Iowa Schools” is a collaboration between the Pepperfield Project, Luther College, and the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative (FFI). The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food & Community Program and is working to transform our food and fitness systems. This resource is meant to provide guidance to schools starting their first garden, as well as practical tips for schools that already have gardens.
Published: April 2013