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Want to try growing your own food? Get in the school garden game--here's how!

What is a school garden?

A school garden can be as large as a field or as small as a few containers, but it is a place to grow things as a way to learn by being hands-on. A garden can be for growing food or flowers, and some gardens are grown to attract animals to observe. A class, a grade, all the students in a school or just those who wish to help, along with teachers, parents and community volunteers, work together to plant, tend and harvest their gardens.

What are the benefits of a school garden?

A school garden is an opportunity for students to learn about science, especially biology, which is the study of living things, along with agriculture and math.

A garden is its own small ecosystem, with much to observe.

Growing food teaches food literacy, and many schools also cook the food they grow.

Fun and rewarding, gardening is also hard work, so it teaches discipline and follow through. A school garden requires that people work together to cooperate and share resources.

Starting a school garden

Starting a garden requires a commitment, and it is a fun way to unite a group of people. Like a plant itself, a garden can grow larger over time. Starting small, even in just a few containers, is a smart idea. That way you can avoid being overwhelmed. Instead, focus your resources and energy on building a bountiful garden.

To have a garden, a few basic elements are required: soil, sun, and a source for water. Once you locate these, you can write a proposal for creating a garden to give to your teacher or principal. Once you get approval for your plan, gather a group and get going to get growing.

Resources

Many organizations exist which can help you plan a garden. Many can help you find grants to fund your garden project. Here are a few websites to check out:

• edibleschoolyard.org
farmtoschool.org
kidsgardening.org

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