Webinar – Funding your School Garden

From our friends at EdWeb:


Join us for the next Growing School Gardens webinar!

Tuesday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time
Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden Program
Presented by John Fisher, Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab; with Kevin Hesser, Middle School Teacher and Co-Director of Gardens to Grow In

In This Session
There is no one way to fund a garden program – there are hundreds! In this webinar, Life Lab’s John Fisher and Gardens to Grow In’s Kevin Hesser will share a wide variety of ideas to finance your school garden program. From finding grants and supportive policy, to school garden micro-enterprise and farm-raisers, their discussion will provide funding ideas for all aspects of your school garden, including garden supplies and staffing school garden instructors. John and Kevin’s presentation will share examples of how they have funded the school garden programs that they run, along with insight from other successful garden programs. Topics will include:

  • Tools for creating a garden budget
  • Telling your story
  • Garnering school or district support
  • Cultivating donors
  • Farm and garden based fundraisers
  • Tips for finding grants
  • Policy that supports school garden programs
  • Innovative ways to fund a garden program
Join this live, interactive session to learn new ways to fund your new or existing school garden program. John and Kevin will field questions from attendees after their presentation.
To Participate in the Live Session
– This webinar will be recorded and archived in this community for viewing at anytime.
– As a member of the Growing School Gardens community, pre-registration is not required.
– Log in at www.instantpresenter.com/edwebnet11 at the scheduled time.
– Test your system for best quality: www.instantpresenter.com/systemtest
About the Presenters
John Fisher is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab. Through his work at Life Lab, John provides training and support to thousands of garden educators across the nation. John is a co-founder of the California School Garden and National School Garden Networks. He coordinates the garden program at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, California. Follow John on Twitter @lifelabtweets.
Kevin Hesser is a school teacher and garden coordinator in Calaveras Unified School District. He teaches art, gardening, and cooking at Toyon Middle School, and supports garden programs at several elementary schools and the high school farm. Kevin co-founded Gardens to Grow In, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports and promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles in Calaveras County schools and communities by teaching children and families how to grow and prepare healthy food through school and community garden based programs.
This program is co-hosted by the Edible Schoolyard Project, the National Farm to School Network, and Life Lab.
Visit our Google calendar to view all webinars this month.
Follow us on Twitter @edWebnet to learn about upcoming webinars and special events!

School Garden Day Highlights!

School Garden Day absolutely blew us away! We achieved our new goal of 25 participating schools, for a total of over 2000 students digging into the gardens. This day not only raises awareness about the need and demand for school gardens, but also celebrates the hard work of all the students, staff and parents who keep them running. So here is a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved for your hard work, diligence and passion. It is truly inspiring!

Mary WardGrade 11 environmental science class of Mary Ward Secondary Catholic School, Scarborough, transplanting vegetables they started in February. The garden will be maintained by student volunteers and senior citizens from the community center next door during the summer.

  • 100 students and teachers planted lettuce, tomatoes and wild flowers at Dallington Public School in North York. This brand new project includes a communal garden, children’s garden and a pollinator’s garden. The gardens are used to improve food security and educate about sustainable food systems. A beautiful project with very high involvement from students and the community!
  • “We had a great Friday with our Garden Guardians […]. We had 15 kids come have lunch by the garden and another 10 joined in to plant tomatoes, potatoes, peas, lettuce, basil, and peppers! After that we had a small class of ten first graders tour the gardens and add to it by planting carrots. We spoke to them about protecting and watching over our gardens and encouraging them to plant food at home.” – Andria Brusey of Prince of Whales Public School, Peterborough.
  • “We started a food garden last school year and have begun some big improvements for this spring/summer. With the help of a grant, we have constructed 4 beautiful raised beds made of cedar posts. Our season is shorter up here, so we can not plant our seedlings outside until the first week of June, however, we’ve been caring for them I window boxes in the classrooms since April” – Tammy Baxter, Parent at Five Mile Public School, Thunder Bay.

Tammy-ALLStudents at Five Mile Public School, Thunder Bay, are planning a salsa garden featuring tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn, cilantro. Along with a harvest soup garden and an herb garden. For School Garden Day they watered the plants they’ve started indoors and planned their transplanting as a class.

We will continue to share stories and photos as we receive them. Thank you again to those who sent them in! All participating schools can now be found on our interactive Garden Map.

School Garden Day – Exceeding Expectations

From Hamilton to Thunder Bay, schools across the province are gearing up for School Garden Day. We have reached our goal of 20 participating schools and hope to exceed it by Friday! Participants will come together this Friday, May 23rd to foster community spirit, celebrate local food systems and engage children and youth in healthy living.

There is some amazing work happening in Ontario’s classrooms and schoolyards. These creative examples may give you some inspiration for your own activity this Friday:

  • 700 students and teachers of Nellie McClung Public School in Maple, ON, will be planting flowers around all the trees, making planters and ensuring a plant is in every classroom.
  • In Hamilton, participants at St. Michael School will be planting a Pizza and Soup Themed Garden, featuring herbs and vegetables that can be used for these delicious dishes!
  • A Butterfly Garden including Milkweeds, Daisies and Black-eyed Susans will be planted at Yorkhill Elementary School in Thornhill.


School Garden at Prince of Whales Public School in Peterborough. Potatoes, broccoli and beans have been planted, with more to be added this Friday. Photo supplied by Andria Brusey.

The date is fast approaching but it’s not too late to join! Activities can be as simple or ambitious as you want, and you can register as a class or a whole school. The more the merrier! Something as little as an indoor plant is enough to qualify for participation. For more inspiration visit our resource section.

Over 1800 students, teachers and parents will participate on School Garden Day making a positive difference in their communities and across the province. Don’t forget to share any pictures of your own and register your school if you haven’t already!  #SchoolGardenDay



School Garden Day is Coming –Please share press release!!!


The “buzz” is: School Gardens Are Sprouting in Ontario

2nd Annual School Garden Day Toronto, Friday May 23rd!!!

School gardens are shooting up across Ontario, increasing students’ access to outdoor physical activities and to fresh, healthy foods. In 2013 the “Imagine A Garden In Every School” Campaign (IGES) launched a survey to learn more about what’s happening with school gardens in Ontario. Of those surveyed, 85% are using their gardens to increase healthy eating and nutrition, and 74% were started in the last 5 years.

Obesity rates among children are rising, food skills plummeting, and school-aged children, regardless of income, are not eating adequately healthy meals. The Heart and Stroke Foundation notes that 70% of children age 4-8 do not get the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. The “Imagine a Garden in Every School” campaign uses gardens to not only feed children better during the school day, but to integrate food literacy into the curriculum.

For the second year, IGES is inviting schools across Ontario to participate in School Garden Day to foster community spirit, celebrate local food systems and connect children and youth to healthy living. On Friday, May 23 any class or whole school can participate — even something as simple as an indoor plant is enough to qualify for participation. All schools will receive a certificate and can share their photos by emailing them to IGES and/or using #SchoolGardenDay on Twitter.

IGES, housed in Toronto’s Green Thumbs Growing Kids, is working to link a groundswell of groups across Ontario to encourage, support, and champion a garden in every school. By doing so they create opportunities for children and youth to learn about ecosystems, experience healthy active living, practice life skills, and discover the benefits of fresh food. Through an online interactive story map, links to funding opportunities, regionally targeted tool-kits, and information about best practices, webinars, and workshops, IGES makes it easier for people to start and maintain school gardens. IGES and their partners are working with Ontario school boards as they consider and pass policies to support and encourage school gardens, often with safety considerations relating to soils and outdoor education.

Twitter: @GardInSchools, hashtag #SchoolGardenDay! For more information, visit the IGES website at www.agardenineveryschool.ca or email Sunday Harrison or Cassie Scott at agardenineveryschool@gmail.com. To contact IGES by mail send to Green Thumbs Growing Kids, 467 Parliament St., P.O. Box 82874, Toronto ON, M5A 3A3

The IGES Steering Committee is supported by EcoSource, FoodShare, Green Thumbs Growing Kids, Seeds For Change, and Ontario Agri-Food Education. Campaign members are also on the Steering Committee of the Ontario Edible Education Network housed at Sustain Ontario.

Imagining Your Garden

Given the recent blanket of snow that wrapped itself around much of southern Ontario yesterday, it’s easy to believe that Wiarton Willie was right to predict six more weeks of winter. Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t look forward to warmer weather, no matter how far away it seems. In fact, now is the perfect time to start planning your garden, whether you already have an established garden or you’re thinking of starting one in the spring. Even if you’re thinking of simply starting some indoor plants for your classroom, use some garden planning activities to banish those winter blues!

We’ve recently added a Getting Started section to our resources page, so have a look for ideas and inspiration to carry you through the rest of the winter. Ontario EcoSchools has a great resource for Greening School Grounds, and School Garden Wizard provides useful guides for designing your garden, including some examples of conceptual drawings. And be sure to take a browse through Evergreen’s resources for more activities like The Mystery Garden and School Ground Naturalization Project. If you still need inspiration, watch some of the recently added videos to see some of the great work in communities around the world!

And of course there’s still School Garden Day to look forward to! If you haven’t heard about it yet, School Garden Day is happening on Friday, May 23 in schools all across Ontario in an effort to promote community spirit, biodiversity, and local food systems. Any school can take part–whether you have an outdoor garden or some potted classroom plants–by planting something new with their classes on May 23. We’ll share your stories and photos with other schools across the province and you’ll also receive a certificate of participation to show off in your school!

Also take a look at what happened last year on School Garden Day at Castlebridge Public School in Mississauga. This year it could be your school! To participate, simply fill out the registration form (version francaise) and email it to us at agardenineveryschool[@]gmail.com. You can send any questions you have to that address as well, and if you have a garden already, make sure to let us know so we can add it to our map. In the meantime, stay warm and comfort yourself with visions of what your spring garden could be!

IGES School Garden Day on May 24th

About School Garden Day

“Learning outside is fun, so learning becomes fun … taking people out of the classroom to give them a different lens on the world is very important, and I believe this is one of the big things that gardens do”.

Dr. Roberta Bondar at the 2012 Imagine A Garden In Every School campaign launch.

About School Garden Day:

On May 24th 2013, Castlebridge Public School, Ecosource and the Imagine A Garden In Every School campaign (IGES) are coming together to celebrate the first annual School Garden Day. IGES will also be announcing the launch of an exciting new tool to share information and successes in school gardening. The School Food Gardening Survey will collect the stories, successes and challenges of school gardening across Ontario.The survey will inform the creation of a tool kit that will make it easier for schools to create and sustain gardens. Continue reading