2009 Grant and Award Winner Year End Report Summary

The National Gardening Association has been providing material assistance to youth and community gardens with the support of generous sponsors through grants since 1982. In 2005 we started collecting data to track the impact of our grants programs via a year-end evaluation summary completed by grant recipients.

Fall 2008 - Spring 2009 Grant and Award Programs

The following represents responses from 216 evaluations for 8 grant programs.

Evaluation Highlights

Type of organization responding:

  • 48% Public School
  • 25% Nonprofit Agency
  • 7% Private School
  • 7% Charter School
  • 6% Community Garden
  • 5% Other
  • 2% Alternative School

Types of audiences participating in these programs:

  • 72% In-school
  • 52% After-school
  • 35% Summer Program/Camp
  • 34% Community Gardeners
  • 33% Special Needs
  • 20% Preschool/Head Start
  • 17% Youth Club
  • 15% Gifted and Talented
  • 14% Intergenerational
  • 10% Church/Youth Group
  • 5% Homeschool

Total number of children who participated:

  • Ages 2-5 (preschool-K) - 7,883
  • Ages 6-8 (grades 1-3) - 13,367
  • Ages 9-11 (grades 4-6) - 9,509
  • Ages 12-13 (grades 7-8) - 3,847
  • Ages 14-18 (grades 9-12) - 5,341
  • Total students - 39,947
  • Adult participation - 4,256

Average hour per week a participating child/youth was involved in gardening activities:

3.5 hours/week

Average duration of gardening program:

7 months/year

Program Continuation:

99% of respondents plan to continue their program the next year

Type of subjects taught through gardening:

  • 91% teach science
  • 74% teach health and nutrition
  • 67% teach community service
  • 55% teach math
  • 46% teach intra/interpersonal relationships
  • 45% teach arts
  • 37% teach cultural studies/issues
  • 36% teach English
  • 32% teach interdisciplinary
  • 31% teach physical education
  • 28% teach social studies
  • 17% teach history

State and National Education Standards:

63% of respondents connected their gardening program to State and National Education Standards.

Importance of linking to these standards for respondents:

  • 7% responded linking was mandatory
  • 30% responded linking was very important
  • 17% responded linking was important
  • 13% responded linking was somewhat important
  • 17% responded linking was not important
  • 16% responded n/a

Approximate amount of money spent on gardening program:

  • 10% spent less than $250
  • 14% spent $251 to $500
  • 17% spent $501 to $1000
  • 8% spent $1001 to $1500
  • 13% spent $1501 to $2000
  • 7% spent $2001 to $2500
  • 31% spent over $2501

Average percent of funding received per category:

  • Grants – 51%
  • Donations – 17%
  • Fund Raising – 8%
  • Parent or Volunteer Organizations – 7.5%
  • School or School District Funds – average response – 6%
  • Other – average response - 5.5%
  • Instructor’s pocket – average response - 5%

Average percent of time spent on different instructional techniques:

  • 28% Adult-led investigation/hands-on activities
  • 25% Collaborative project work
  • 21% Student-led investigation/hands-on activities
  • 13% Independent learning
  • 13% Lecture

Program leaders noted the participant improvements in these characteristics:

  • 96% noted improvements in environmental attitudes
  • 92% noted improvements in community spirit
  • 89% noted improvements in self confidence
  • 87% noted improvements in social skills
  • 85% noted improvements in leadership skills
  • 82% noted improvements in attitude towards school
  • 81% noted improvements in volunteerism
  • 77% noted improvements in nutritional attitudes
  • 65% noted improvements in motor skills
  • 63% noted improvements in scholastic achievement

Reported Evidence documenting effectiveness of these gardening programs:

  • 96% received positive responses from participants
  • 83% received positive responses from family members
  • 80% received positive community responses
  • 77% received positive responses from administrators
  • 51% received donations and financial support
  • 31% noticed decrease in disciplinary actions
  • 29% collected positive survey results
  • 29% received awards and recognition
  • 21% noticed improvements in attendance rates
  • 14% noticed improvement in test scores

Here are a few comments gathered during year-end evaluations

These grants are awarded based on merit. Winners were chosen through evaluation of written applications; winning applicants indicated well-planned, comprehensive, community-supported, and sustainable youth garden programs. Because the pool of applicants and types of programs vary each year, the statistics noted here are dynamic.

For more data and comments from our 2009 grant season, please download individual grant program year-end reports:

Our Garden Project has had a profound impact on our school community. Students stop me in the hall to ask when they can work in the garden. They are proud to show off their efforts. From small seeds started in classrooms to a bounty of harvested vegetables, the positive effect has been addictive. Becoming a garden captain is an honor and a privilege, with many students competing for the right to be on the gardening team.
- Anastasia Hinchsliff
Oscar Mayer Magnet School, Illinois

Students learned lessons in patience and delayed gratification, persistence and responsibility. The children took turns going outside to monitor the development during the week, in addition to the regular gardening times. They also had opportunities to problem solve and resolve conflicts early on, while determining specific plant placement.
- Jeni Mallory-White
Joliet Montessori School, Illinois

Our gardening project has become one of our most successful school programs. It has changed the culture of our school and provided positive experiences for every student. We are so fortunate!
- Michael Masucci
Poland North Elementary School, Poland, Ohio

Our community is in awe of our project. Kids are excited and have requested home gardens. Children can’t wait to work, eat, plan, pick bugs. We are extremely proud of our students and families who have worked all summer to create a wonderful garden.
- Mary Noonan
Alden-Hebron Elementary School, Hebron, Illinois

The Discovery Curriculum and garden at Wissahickon has nurtured a student body that regularly demonstrates enthusiasm for learning, responsible and respectful behavior, and academic success. The school’s Discovery teacher works collaboratively with each classroom teacher to design units that complement the core curriculum by using elements of the natural world to connect learning across disciplines and grade levels. This approach gives students ownership of the project and provides opportunities for in-depth explorations of real life problems. Students comments include: ‘I’m an eggplant scout’ and ‘Parsnips are my favorite vegetable now and I’m going to tell my daddy to eat them!
- Juanita Nyce
Wissahickon Charter School, Pennsylvania

Children are excited about gardening. Our garden has been a wonderful supplement to our curriculum. The kids have enjoyed the process from seed to harvest. We have also been able to share our veggies with other kids in our school! Another impact, teachers continue to see improvement in bag lunches: less junk food, more fruits and vegetables.
- Erica Sherman
Wood County Health Department, Wisconsin

This project has helped foster community involvement in the school. Teachers, parents and students have taken on the responsibility of maintaining the gardens, and delight in harvesting and eating the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Children are eating more vegetables, like radishes and lettuces right out of the ground! This program has helped raise awareness of food that the children eat at school, as well as helped to raise awareness of making healthier choices outside of school.
- Mary Jane Nusbaum
Marbletown Elementary, New York

My students earned the reputation of being able to get anything to grow. They really took pride in the school grounds and anything dealing with the greenhouse. I saw an extreme boost in self confidence and pride in their accomplishments. A wonderful opportunity for the students as my class has a wide mix of students who struggle in regular classes. Thank you for this opportunity.
- Roger Stephen
North Albany Middle School, Oregon

Parents share with us that their children tell them that gardening is their favorite class at school. They do not want to miss garden days and come home talking about the great

things they got to do and all that they learned by participating in gardening activities. My students come to the garden during their recess and lunch breaks, preferring to investigate or help out with a variety of garden chores during times they could otherwise be playing. I think this is a true testament to the power of the garden - when given a choice of free time, the children choose to be there over any other options.
- Johnna Hampton-Walker
Larchmont Charter School, California

The garden is one of the favorite projects that our first and second graders look forward to. They are enthralled when they see a tiny seed become a nine foot sunflower in just a few months; when they see a tiny yellow flower become a small green tomato that turns red and delicious to eat; when they see a flower change into a squash that grows plump in just a few days! There is nothing like witnessing the delight of a child as he pulls up a plant to find round, red radishes or pointy carrots that were hiding underground! The children keep garden journals and increase in their skills of drawing, labeling, measuring, and describing in words what they see during each trip to the garden.

Who can resist loving what you've planted and nurtured yourself? We saw more of them make healthier choices at lunch, choosing salads and raw vegetables to eat. Before their experience in the garden, many believed vegetables came from the store and were afraid to try new things.
- Claudia Bretzing
Hale Elementary, Arizona

We always check-in and check-out when we work together in the garden. A lot of times our students are despondent, grumpy, negative, etc. before they start working in the garden. Yet, typically by the time we check-out (at the end of our time in the garden) most of the students are expressing feelings of contentment, happiness, calmness, lessened anxieties, etc.
- Melissa Astin
Inner Harbour, Georgia

“Normally I don’t like to get dirty. But this is different,” claimed a female 7th grader building a raised bed. The garden programs at Chico Junior High and Bidwell Junior High involve students who might otherwise slip through the cracks. The Chico garden has improved the whole school’s morale. Sunflowers and ripe cherry tomatoes break the monotony of the grass that once grew between classroom wings. At Bidwell, students are amazed by the garden’s bounty, which includes raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
- Jeremy Miller
Chico Food Network, California

2011 Evaluation Summary
2010 Evaluation Summary
2008 Evaluation Summary
2007 Evaluation Summary
2006 Evaluation Summary
2005 Evaluation Summary

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