Teaching Life Skills through a Youth Garden Business
Vocational agriculture teacher Rose Ormsby-Krueger (North Hollywood, California) uses a cut flower garden and farmers’ market enterprise to teach North Hollywood High School students valuable life skills. “Flowers don’t tell you they’re hungry every day, but they tell you they’re thirsty,” she says. “It takes responsibility to make sure they get watered and taken care of.”
Growing flowers helps teach kids many art, language, language arts, math, and science concepts—along with patience, responsibility, and appreciation for the natural world. Below are some lesson ideas we really like.
NGA President Mike Metallo Remembers Kitchen Garden Season Kick-Off
Mike Metallo, NGA President and Michelle Obama working with the children in the gardenI'm sitting in Reagan National Airport waiting for my flight and thinking back on the events of the White House Kitchen Garden Season Kick-Off. It was a once-in-a-lifetime day.
Five years ago, Helen Krofchick’s music students in Lugoff, SC, could be found tapping on old cans and rubbing sticks. Why? Inspired by a visiting artist and video clips of a group called STOMP*, the K-5 classes tried using “found” objects, including things from the environment, to create and perform unique sounds and rhythms. After loads of inside practice, they wondered what their inventive instruments would sound like if they played them in the schoolyard.
What better way to celebrate your child’s spring or summer birthday than with a garden party? Although fancy dresses and tea sandwiches may come to mind, kids love to run around outside, play games and get their hands into the dirt-- all fun activities to keep them engaged and maybe even learn a little about the wonders of plants and seeds. Here are ideas for invitations, decorations, activities, refreshments and favors that will make your child’s big day a memorable one.
Inner City Market Garden: Fresh Produce at Low Cost
A former classroom teacher with a passion for raising healthful food, Arna Caplan was volunteer director of a winning seed-to-table school garden program at an inner city K-8 school in Denver. “The Fairmont garden was always a special and accessible place where all students were welcome and involved,” says Arna. But as in many such projects, finding volunteers to maintain the garden through the summer was a huge challenge.
For nine years, students at Steele Elementary School in Denver have been cultivating, cooking, and consuming chard, carrots and more from their campus garden. Then five years ago, garden manager Andrew Nowak, a chef and volunteer from Slow Food Denver, began to think beyond the fence. “We’d had lots of positive feedback from parents about our gardens and produce.
Right Side Box:
Funding School Farmers’ Markets
Consider these sources of funding for a school- or district-wide farm stand project: Parent-teacher organizations, health departments and health foundations, hospitals interested in healthy living strategies, local Slow Food programs, urban gardening programs, local school foundations, State Department of Agriculture grants (including grants designed to look at new markets for local produce). Also see links on the Kidsgardening grants page.
Kids Gardening and the National Gardening Association actively work with schools and communities across the country to provide educational resources and build gardens to promote health, wellness, and sustainability.