2011 Grant and Award Winner Year End Report Summary

The National Garden Association provides material assistance to youth and community garden programs with support from our generous sponsors. To date, 9,596 grants and awards worth $3,966,550 reaching an estimated 1.6 million youth in the U.S. and in select locations abroad have been distributed through our organization. In 2005 we started collecting data to track the impact of our grant programs via year-end evaluation summary completed by grant recipients. In 2011, over 10,000 applications were submitted for 346 awards. Below are some recent testimonials and results.

Fall 2010-Spring 2011 Grant and Award Programs

Evaluation Highlights

The following represents responses from 346 awards and grant winners.

Type of organization responding:

  • 46% Public School
  • 23% Nonprofit Agency
  • 8% Private School
  • 4% Other
  • 6% Charter School
  • 5% Community Garden
  • 3% Alternative School
  • 1% Civic or Garden Club

Types of audiences participating in these programs:

  • 20% In-school
  • 17% After-school
  • 12% Special Needs
  • 10% Community Gardeners
  • 13% Summer Program/Camp
  • 6% Gifted and Talented
  • 6% Intergenerational
  • 5% Youth Club
  • 8% Preschool/Head Start
  • 2% Church/Youth Group
  • 1% Homeschool

Total number of children who participated:

  • Ages 2-5 (preschool-K) - 8,893
  • Ages 6-8 (grades 1-3) - 14,077
  • Ages 9-11 (grades 4-6) - 10,090
  • Ages 12-13 (grades 7-8) - 3,561
  • Ages 14-18 (grades 9-12) - 2,519
  • Total students - 39,140
  • Adult participation - 3,670

Percentage, on average, of students eligible for free/reduced lunch rates:

50%, approximately 20,000 students

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:

97% of respondents plan to continue their program the next year

Type of subjects taught through gardening:

  • 91% teach science
  • 89% teach health and nutrition
  • 61% teach community service
  • 55% teach math
  • 42% teach intra/interpersonal relationships
  • 40% teach cultural studies/issues
  • 40% teach arts
  • 34% teach social studies
  • 34% teach physical education
  • 32% teach English
  • 29% teach history
  • 27% teach interdisciplinary

State and National Education Standards:

62% of respondents connected their gardening program to State and National Education Standards.

Importance of linking to these standards for respondents:

  • 12% responded linking was mandatory
  • 24% responded linking was very important
  • 17% responded linking was important
  • 17% responded linking was somewhat important
  • 16% responded linking was not important
  • 13% responded n/a

Approximate amount of money spent on gardening program:

  • 10% spent less than $250
  • 10% spent $251 to $500
  • 26% spent $501 to $1000
  • 14% spent $1001 to $1500
  • 6% spent $1501 to $2000
  • 8% spent $2001 to $2500
  • 25% spent over $2500

Average percent of funding received per category:

  • Grants – 52%
  • Donations – 17%
  • School or School District Funds – average response – 9%
  • Parent or Volunteer Organizations – 5%
  • Other – average response - 2%
  • Instructor’s pocket – average response - 4%
  • Fund Raising – 6%

Average percent of funding received per category:

  • 12% value less than $250
  • 14% value between $251 to $500
  • 22% value between $501 to $1000
  • 13% value between $1001 to $1500
  • 5% value between $1501 to $2000
  • 9% value between $2001 to $2500
  • 24% value over $2501

Average percent of time spent on different instructional techniques:

  • 30% Adult-led investigation/hands-on activities
  • 26% Student-led investigation/hands-on activities
  • 22% Collaborative project work
  • 12% Independent learning
  • 9% Lecture

Program leaders noted the participant improvements in these characteristics:

  • 94% noted improvements in environmental attitudes
  • 89% noted improvements in community spirit
  • 85% noted improvements in self confidence
  • 86% noted improvements in social skills
  • 85% noted improvements in leadership skills
  • 79% noted improvements in attitude towards school
  • 79% noted improvements in volunteerism
  • 92% noted improvements in nutritional attitudes
  • 61% noted improvements in motor skills
  • 49% noted improvements in scholastic achievement

Reported Evidence documenting effectiveness of these gardening programs:

  • 95% received positive responses from participants
  • 86% received positive responses from administrators
  • 84% received positive responses from family members
  • 79% received positive community responses
  • 62% received donations and financial support
  • 26% noticed decrease in disciplinary actions
  • 21% received awards and recognition
  • 25% collected positive survey results
  • 20% noticed improvements in attendance rates
  • 9% 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 2011 grant season, please download individual grant program year-end reports:

Our Earth Works planning project provided opportunities for peer mentoring across several grade levels. Older and younger students worked together to plan and build the garden. Students studied various artists and then created their own designs. Several of the students who tend to be disconnected from the classroom were on task and demonstrated leadership skills during this project. There was a great deal of excitement surrounding the construction of the gardens, many students requested to work on the project during lunch periods.
- Mollie Parson, Subaru Healthy Sprouts Grant Recipient
Rio Grande School - Sante Fe, New Mexico

We planted a salad garden with vegetables including lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and onions. Our students grew each of the vegetables from seed. When it came time to harvest vegetables, we picked them directly from our salad garden, rinsed veggies off with the hose, topped our salads with dressing we brought and ate our salads right there in the garden. Our students were able to experience the entire cycle of "farm to table." We contrasted this theme with fast food and packaged foods that many of our students eat on a regular basis. During after school program, we also had a cooking club, where students picked vegetables directly from the garden to use as ingredients in recipes we cooked in cooking club.
- Dusty Teng, Subaru Healthy Sprouts Grant Recipient
Colorado "I Have a Dream" Foundation/Valdez Elementary School - Denver, Colorado

The gardening program had a huge impact on the children in our community. They were really excited to establish a garden because most have never grown their own vegetables or have witnessed the growth of vegetables or fruits! The students were also excited to touch dirt and experience what it is like to plant and harvest. The students are at-risk youths that live in affordable housing; they are also children of immigrants and may not have the same opportunities as other children in the community. To have the garden available to them significantly impacted their lives. The children were able to learn about gardening and having that space give them a sense of ownership. The garden program has been a way to strengthen relationships with one another and the greater community. When the children found out that the soil was donated by a community member, they were thrilled that people were willing to donate for our garden program. Throughout the summer, the children kept in touch with the donor and provided updates to show their appreciation.
- Annie Xiong, Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant Recipient
CommonBond Communities at Westminster Place - St. Paul, Minnesota

The children are very enthusiastic about watching the flowers and plants grow. They are always excited to tend to the garden," said kindergarten teacher Martha Flores. This year the kindergartens will be harvesting their first crop and using the organic fresh food in the classroom. "At some point, the children started being a bit more respectful around the garden in the park and respectful of that space," she continued. The garden program has generated a lot of appreciative comments by students and staff. Even the older students demonstrated enthusiasm about beautifying the environment around our school. Waldorf schools have farming as an element of their curriculum, and school teachers are looking forward to integrating the garden more and more into their class work. Many of our students live in urban areas and may not have ever had the experience of growing food before.
- Sandra Gines, Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant Recipient
Tamarack Waldorf School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Parents have said that we transformed what was a "wasteland" into a vital, welcoming part of the school. One parent said that until the outdoor classroom was there, she never felt like the school was welcoming. Now, she feels more at home. Children request garden-based learning frequently. Some kids tell their parents that the garden "is the coolest thing that ever happened at school." Parents, responding to a PTO survey, indicated that the outdoor classroom was the initiative (of fifteen they could select) they most wanted to see the PTO continue to support. Teachers indicate that they use the garden for children who are having a "rough day." They report that kids come back after doing "heavy work" much more able to focus and attend to tasks and direction. In our second year, kids remembered the things they liked to eat and chose to grow those, plus some new things. They walked to the farmers' market and selected seedlings based on their experiences the prior year.
- Mary Michaud, Midwest School Garden Grant Recipient
Van Hise Elementary School - Wisconsin

Project Greenthumb has had a tremendous impact on our school and facility. The students earn credits toward their high school diploma and valuable work skills that they could utilize in the community. Project Greenthumb has also contributed to other educational programs offered by our school. The program provided many of the materials (vegetables) to the school's ProStart Cooking Class and those meals were then served to our student population. The student's work ethic and attitudes of Project Greenthumb appeared to grow and improve as the growing season progressed. It seemed to show the students that the hard work of preparing fertile beds reaped rewards of healthy vegetables later in the season.
- Jacob Berst, Midwest School Garden Grant Recipient
Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility Community High School - Nebraska

Our whole school model is built around spending as much times as possible observing and interacting with nature. The most profound impact from spending time in nature is the change that comes over our many special needs students when they walk outside through our school doors. Kids who are easily distracted and frustrated when asked to sit through indoor activities are the first to grab their notebooks and focus once we enter the natural world. All of our students love to garden but my favorite quote comes from one of our early elementary students: “gardening is my favoritest thing in the whole world.” With regard to our tree planting, one of our middle school students said, “I’m into the idea of being able to walk through the woods and pick something to eat. Planting trees in the woods around my school was really awesome.” Even though our gardening program has a profound impact on our students, most of whom live a rural life-style this impact pales next to the impact our program has on our Kids to the Country participants who travel to our school from inner-city neighborhoods. Often KTC students make statements like “Wow! I’ve never gotten food from a plant before.
- Peter Kindfield, Jamba Juice “It’s All About the Fruit” Grant Recipient
The Farm School, Summertown, Tennessee

Our whole school model is built around spending as much times as possible observing and interacting with nature. The most profound impact from spending time in nature is the change that comes over our many special needs students when they walk outside through our school doors. Kids who are easily distracted and frustrated when asked to sit through indoor activities are the first to grab their notebooks and focus once we enter the natural world. All of our students love to garden but my favorite quote comes from one of our early elementary students: “gardening is my favoritest thing in the whole world.” With regard to our tree planting, one of our middle school students said, “I’m into the idea of being able to walk through the woods and pick something to eat. Planting trees in the woods around my school was really awesome.” Even though our gardening program has a profound impact on our students, most of whom live a rural life-style this impact pales next to the impact our program has on our Kids to the Country participants who travel to our school from inner-city neighborhoods. Often KTC students make statements like “Wow! I’ve never gotten food from a plant before.
- Louisa Hartigan, Jamba Juice “It’s All About the Fruit” Grant Recipient
Manzanita SEED Elementary School, Oakland, California

Children who participate in our garden program are much more accepting of vegetables in their diet and in their lives. They learn where their food comes from and appreciate the difficulties involved in growing, maintaining and harvesting food. Students have also learn about cooking and how to use the herbs we grow to flavor food. They learned how a brine worked and how salt affects the texture of vegetables. Students enjoyed selling their produce to raise money for community charities, they are very proud to show off their garden vegetables. Students also studied the importance of worms in the garden and how certain flowers keep pests away from vegetables. They truly enjoy the garden and even during winter they ask," When are we going to get to work in the garden?
- Nina Macchia, Youth Garden Grant Recipient
Damar Academy, Indianapolis, Indiana

Our gardening program has spurred a movement within the White Mountain community to begin gardening. Not only has it been shown as a cost effective way to lower grocery bills, but also as a way to combat diabetes and heart disease which both greatly affect our population. Our students have shown the community how easy it is to garden and by hosting a garden expo at their project site where individuals of 3 different states attended. At the expo, our students demonstrated different kinds of gardening in the White Mountains including, the use of raised beds, lasagna beds, and double dug beds were some of the demonstrations held. The students also created posters to display at their school play as well as recorded radio commercials to air on the local station.
- Alexis Aldridge, Youth Garden Grant Recipient
East Fork Lutheran School, Whiteriver, Arizona

The garden project started one year ago in the summer. We held summer school (camp)and the focus was on healthy choices and nutrition. This theme was carried on throughout the school year. I am a science learning strategist so I incorporated nutrition into my curriculum. The PE teacher also used nutrition throughout her lessons. Using the garden as our lab the students learned how to plant, harvest, and cultivate the garden. Students were introduced to composting and it's importance to the garden. During all the lunch periods healthy choices were discussed. The students talked at lunch about what the fruit or vegetable was for the day and where it came from. We also had chefs come to the school and cook with the kids healthy and nutritious foods. In our parent center they too focused on healthy eating and prevention of diabetes. We do movement activities with the students each morning and before lunch. We are having summer school again using the garden as the focus.
- Rosemary Hunt, Welch’s Harvest Grant Recipient
Martin Luther King Laboratory School, Evanston, Illinois

Our gardeners are all refugees from Central and East Africa, the garden have improved their self esteem, English skills, and provided nutritional supplementation. The gardens have made them more accepted by their other neighbors. We also combined the gardens with tutoring for the children which improved academic performance.
- Sylvia Gleason, Mantis Tiller Grant Recipient
High Impact Projects, Ohio

The gardening program has definitely had a positive impact on both the participants and the community. We worked with a group of emotionally troubled kids throughout the summer and I saw real pride in their accomplishments and a sense of confidence in their new skills and knowledge. Their teachers also mentioned that they had better attendance on days that included a trip to the garden. All students (except one) enthusiastically tried every food I brought for them to taste and looked forward to garden club activities. Teachers have expressed interest in having our indoor garden in their classroom as well as implementing a school wide composting system. Neighbors have stepped in to keep an eye on our garden and supply us with grass clippings and advice, plus always stop to talk. Community-wide support at the local farmers market has been tremendous. Everyone is very supportive of the garden and proud to have it in our community (the first of it's kind here).
- Marcee Ruark, Mantis Tiller Grant Recipient
Whittier Elementary School, Montana

2010 Evaluation Summary
2009 Evaluation Summary
2008 Evaluation Summary
2007 Evaluation Summary
2006 Evaluation Summary
2005 Evaluation Summary

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