News & Blog Posts


    Congratulations to the 25 Grant Winners!


    Western Growers Foundation has once again proudly partnered with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to award K–12 Arizona schools with $37,500 in edible school garden funding. We are excited to announce the twenty five winning schools that will receive $1,500 each... Read More

    Congratulations to the 20 recipients of our 2015 WGF & Driscoll's School Garden Grant!

    Western Growers Foundation has partnered with Driscoll’s as a part of their Regional Community Grants Program to award $10,000 in edible school garden grants. WGF will award $500 grants to these twenty K-12 schools - plus seeds and a copy of...

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    Originally posted at www.lifelab.org

    -by John Fisher Life Lab's Director of Partnerships and Programs
    This post is part of Life Lab Sustaining...
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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member Shannon McDowell, who is currently serving with the Center for Healthy Communities through California State University, Chico. Within less than a year, Shannon has spearheaded the Harvest of the Month program...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member Ryan Griffith, who is currently serving with Conejo Valley Unified School District in Thousand Oaks, CA. From conducting taste tests and supporting school gardens to recipe development for school lunches, Ryan is...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member Emily Metzger, who is currently serving with University of California Cooperative Extension, Central Sierra and Gardens to Grow In in Calaveras, CA. As one of the very few California natives in the FoodCorps...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member Michelle Pinter-Petrillo, who is currently serving with Oakland Unified School District as a garden educator. Read on to learn how Michelle juggles teaching classrooms and mentoring high school youth. ...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member Roanna Cooper with Food, What?!, a youth empowerment program in partnership with Life Lab. Read on to learn about how Roanna is leading teen youth and supporting them with events, workshops and work days  ...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member Monica Drazba with University of California Cooperative Extension, Central Sierra. Read on to learn about how Gold Country is bringing farm to school along the Sierras.
     
    At the beginning of...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member, Ashley Marquez, with San Diego Unified School District. This year Ashley is supporting the district's Harvest of the Month program by facilitating taste tests in classes and school cafeterias. Read on to learn...

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    Congratulations to the 50 recipients of our 2015 Arizona School Garden Grant!

    Western Growers Foundation proudly partners with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to offer a competitive grant to K–12 Arizona schools. These fifty schools will receive $1,000 each—plus seeds and materials—to grow and sustain their edible gardens. The...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by former FoodCorps Service Member, Chris Massa, with Ventura Unified School District. After serving with FoodCorps for 1.5 years, Chris Massa has now landed the position as the Farm to School Operations Specialist with the school district...

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    This service highlight was originally posted by the California Farm to School Network and was written by FoodCorps Service Member John Pleasants with Oakland Unified School District. Read on to learn about our member's service with the district and the partnership between the district and Center for Ecoliteracy for the California Thursdays...

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    Summer Vacation for Your Garden- Adapted from The Life Lab Garden Times, Spring 2003.

    Here are some ideas to keep your garden maintained during the summer so that your fall garden will be full of treats to harvest instead of...

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    This service highlight, originally posted with the California Farm to School Network, is written by FoodCorps Service Member Sara Mendes who is currently serving with Life Lab and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) along the Central Coast. Serving in the heartland of agriculture and in Spanish-speaking communities, Sara has been...

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    Recently we had the opportunity to visit three of our school garden grant recipients and discovered they all had one thing in common: they sell the produce they grow to the community as a means of economic sustainability.

    Our first stop was at Rolling Hills Elementary School in Fullerton, Calif., where we met up with Marilou Hertzberg...

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    This blogpost is brought to you by FoodCorps California Service Member, Ceanna Vangelder, with Oakland Unified School District and the California Farm to School Network. Read on to learn about how Ceanna brings fresh produce to nearby schools in Oakland, CA.
     
    Every Tuesday, an order of specially chosen fresh produce...

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    CA Farm To School Conference 2015

    Connecting. Growing. Leading.

    May 4th - 6th | Asilomar | Pacific Grove, CA

    ...

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    Last month we discussed creating healthy goals for the new year and how to use a garden as means to expose your kids to fruits and vegetables.

    How’s that going for you? Hopefully good, but we understand if there’s been some slip ups, especially with leftovers from the holiday season. However, another dangerous time of the year is upon us...

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    A school garden is a unique learning enviroment. The garden is not as free as recess nor as confined as a classroom. A school garden is an outdoor or garden classroom. Just as there are rules and norms for recess and the indoor classroom, effective instuction in the garden classroom depends on a management style appropriate to...

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    With a new year comes new resolutions. One of those resolutions should be to teach our children healthier habits and lead by example.
     
    Nearly one in three children in America is currently overweight or obese, and that trend seems to be climbing. So while you’re tackling your own New Year’s resolutions, why not partner up with your...

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    Western Growers Foundation proudly partners with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to offer a competitive grant to K–12 Arizona schools. Fifty schools will receive $1,000 each—plus seeds and materials—to grow and sustain their edible gardens. The grants will be awarded in early spring in time for the 2015 Spring planting season. This grant...

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    This story was written by returning FoodCorps service member Noah Donnell-Kilmer, who serves with Garden School Foundation in Los Angeles.

    Read on to understand the roller coaster ride of teaching and the stories that make the chaos of teaching in school...

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    CA Farm To School Conference 2015 - Connecting. Growing. Leading.
    May 4th - 6th | Asilomar | Pacific Grove, CA
    CA Farm to School Conference is looking for speakers and panel participants for the California Farm to School Conference.  Deadline for submission is January 7, 2015.

    Speakers should be well versed...

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    Congratulations to the recipients of the California School Garden Grants!


    Western Growers Foundation (WGF) proudly partners with the California Department of Education (CDE) to award 100 K-12 schools $1,500 each—plus seeds and other materials to grow and sustain a fruit and vegetable garden. This program is made possible through a...

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    The school garden at Rolling Hills Elementary School in San Diego is thriving. The children, Principal Kathleen Marshack, and parent volunteers got a chance to show it off while demonstrating how fun it is to grow (and eat) your own food! Some special gifts and attention were brought Tuesday by representatives from the Western Growers...

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    Congratulations to the recipients of the Arizona School Garden Grants!

    Western Growers Foundation (WGF) worked with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to provide 50 garden grants of $1,500 each to eligible K-12 schools. Each of the following schools will receive $1,500, an Arizona Gardens for Learning Book, Producepedia bookmarks...

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    “If they grow it, they’ll eat it.”

    We’ve used that mantra for years now, but here’s a little snag.  Seems no one is immune to rules and regulations these days, and edible school gardens — particularly those in Arizona — have a few rules that can make it a bit more difficult...

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    Is there a school garden in your community? There could be. With grants from the Western Growers Foundation (WGF) and your personal involvement, a lot of kids will be introduced to good nutrition and the joy of seeing something grow. The Foundation received grants from both the California Department of Food...

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    In the chaos of everyday life, between work and family time, it’s hard to find any down time, let alone time or energy to volunteer. Yet there are teachers, parents and community members who carve out their precious time to contribute. One of those parents, Jose Lopez, is a Western Growers employee and a dedicated volunteer at John Adams...

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    Take the California School Garden SurveyMay 28, 2014 Press Release - ...

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    Last Saturday, I attended a Master Gardener workshop on Creating and Sustaining a Youth Garden.  Karen Wilson, a Master Gardener and one of the presenters outlined key people and roles for those of us in the planning stages to consider.  

    Steering Committee (Big picture, strategy)

    1. Chairman (executive sponsor...
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    Western Growers Foundation is pleased to announce the grant winners of the AZ/CA Sustainable Grant. Each grant winner will receive $500 to sustain their fruit and vegetable gardens.
    Alamo Elementary, CA
    Bess Maxwell Elementary School, CA
    Billy Mitchell Elementary School, CA
    Boys & Girls Clubs of North San Mateo Count...

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    Raised beds carry a litany of advantages that make them an ideal solution for novice and experienced gardeners alike. But to get the very most out of your beds, follow this advice from the pros.

    1. Build and Test Your Soil

    Begin your gardening season with a soil test. This will identify what your soil has or...

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    The Western Growers Foundation grant for Arizona and California sustainable edible school gardens will be awarded soon! Grants are being reviewed now and will be posted by the end of the month. Grant winners will also receive a drip tape row crop irrigation kit! Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

    We are excited to provide a step-by-step edible school garden guide for Arizona Schools. Hard copies can be purchased and it's free to download

    http://www.csgn.org/content/arizona-gardens-learning

    What started out as a small request from Russ Drew’s wife to beautify the area outside of the Teddy Bear Tymes center, turned into a garden project and a wonderful learning opportunity for the children at the childcare center located in San Bernardino, CA. The center, which provides quality care for children from six weeks to six years old and...

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    Pre - 5th - Search the ever-growing collection of lessons which are perfect for teaching about gardening, cooking, farms, or food. Most lessons are tied to a relevant children's book.

    The following post was submitted by Sierra Harvest FoodCorps Service Member Elizabeth Lane:

    In rural Nevada County California Sierra Harvest works in local schools to educate, inspire and connect local families to fresh, local, seasonal food. As a Nevada County...

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    Life Lab, in collaboration with the California School Garden Network, conducted the California School Garden Survey to gain insights into the factors that help school gardens to function effectively, the resources that are needed to sustain them, and how they are utilized. The 2014 California School Garden Survey received 552 completed responses... Read More

    Does your school cafeteria practice scratch cooking? Does a local farmer provide the freshest broccoli to your students? Do fresh greens from the school garden end up in a healthy lunch salad? The California Farm to School Network is holding a contest to celebrate the school lunch trays throughout the state that feature the great ways that...

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    The following post was submitted by Sierra Harvest FoodCorps Service Member Elizabeth Lane:

    In rural Nevada County California Sierra Harvest works in local schools to educate, inspire and connect local families to fresh, local, seasonal food. As a Nevada County native, I am excited about...

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    Survey Closes on February 21.

    Life Lab, in collaboration with the California School Garden Network, is conducting a survey of California School Gardens. This same survey was conducted in 2010-11 with 580 respondents. The...

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    Western Growers Foundation (WGF) is pleased to announce the Arizona / California Grant for Sustainable Edible School Gardens. This grant is open to all K-12 Arizona and California schools, who have existing gardens. Forty schools will receive $500 each to sustain their fruit and vegetable gardens. Applications must be completed and submitted...

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    Rachael Barkley and Paula Olson, VP of Marketing at Western Growers visited Alice Byre Elementary School to present a $1500 check from Western Growers. Students will be using the funding to expand their small two-bed garden to include more vegetables and fruit. 

    Read more:...

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    Within a year of its' inception, the Gary Knox Elementary School Garden is already positively impacting the students test scores. "Science test results of the fourth-grade students increased 17 percent," said Principal Laura Hurt.

     

     

    Read more:...

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    Every child deserves to grow up knowing where food comes from, how to grow it, cook it and share it, and how to be healthy. And now, thanks to the hard work of Andrew Nowak and his team of volunteer Slow Food leaders and garden coordinators across the country, the new School Garden Manua...

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    The National School Garden Network connects organizations and individuals supporting multiple school gardens across district, regional, or state levels. The network's forum provides a space for school garden professionals to connect and share resources, while its...

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    Congratulations to the recipients of the Child Care and Pre-school Garden Grants! 

    Western Growers Foundation (WGF) worked with the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD) to provide 100 garden grants of $1,000 each to eligible child care centers or preschools participating in the...

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    The Great Garden Detective Adventure Now Available
    Request a print copy for your school today!

    Team Nutrition invites 3rd and 4th grade students to discover what fruits and vegetables are sweetest, crunchiest, and juiciest through a series of investigations and fun educational experiences.

     

    The Great Garden Detective...

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    In 2012, Western Growers Foundation (WGF) worked with the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD) to provide 100 garden grants of $1,000 each to eligible child care centers or preschools participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). These competitive garden grants were awarded to agencies or...

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    California Foundation for Agriculture is the Classroom is providing 250 third through eighth grade educators with grants of $300 each to purchase California specialty crop fruits and vegetables for monthly classroom taste tests!

    Taste testing in the classroom will help third through eighth grade students throughout California gain...

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    Take from: Marin Independent Journal

    About 200 first- and third-graders at Edna Maguire Elementary School in Mill Valley released some 55,000 ladybugs Thursday into the 1/3-acre Children's Garden to control aphids....

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    Taken from: Ventura County Star

    Reaping the benefits of their crop, Oxnard’s Harrington School students harvested lettuce to take home and enjoy for healthy eating last week.

    The students have been working to tend their garden as part...

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    Taken from: MercuryNews.com

    The dream to have an outdoor garden at the Merryhill School on Yosemite Drive took flight Monday with a butterfly release in the near-completed site during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "Not only is today the...

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    Kelli Wessman is the creator of Garden of Learning and a true veteran garden educator. In the following essay she offers up her insight on the wonders of garden-based learning and shares the reality that creating and sustaining school gardens is not always easy, but it is worth it.

    The Environment Brings...

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    Also see Summer Care Ideas at www.csgn.org/maintaining-your-garden which includes Summer in the School Garden a 40 page guide for summer garden care! 

    For most, school is out for summer and there aren’t many students or families around to tend to the school garden. So what...

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    School gardens have taken root and are flourishing in Calaveras Unified School District.  We currently have garden programs in three elementary schools, our middle school and at the high school.  Two other elementary schools are in the process of building support to create their own gardens and our goal is to have a “garden...

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    Western Growers Foundation (WGF) is working with the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD) to provide 100 garden grants of $1,000 each to eligible child care centers or preschools participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). These competitive garden grants will be awarded to agencies or...

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    Written by Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen, republished with permission from www.lifelab.org.

    Model Policies and Organizations from Across the Country

    School gardens are fantastic! (To be convinced, view...

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    Through the generous support of HMC Farms, the Western Growers Foundation is opening up a competitive grant opportunity for Oakland Unified School District K-12 grade schools, to receive a $1,000 grant to grow and sustain an edible school garden. Click ...

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    Sign up to be on the GBARN meeting e-list.

    CSGN Meeting Notes - June 18, 2012

    In attendance:

    Lisa Preschel and Vanessa Carter - Occidental Arts and Eco Center
    Whitney Cohen - Life Lab
    Lauri Twitchell and Janet...

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    A school garden is an ideal location to tie hands-on learning to language arts. Here are some ways to “dig in” with literature activities, including the Imagine this… Story Writing Contest (deadline: Nov. 1).

    Tops or Bottoms
    This “Ag-Bite” encourages K-3 students to eat more...

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    Serving garden grown veggies in school lunch or breakfast is becoming more and more popular. The goal is not that the garden is meant to be the soul source for veggie production, but rather to reinforce the connection to the soil that sustains us all. Some school food service directors have even been known to pay the garden program for the...

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    When the Network for a Healthy California began developing the four-page Harvest of the Month educator newsletters in 2005, there was one element everyone agreed should be included: a section on school gardens. At the time, gardens were a relatively new find in schools; but it was apparent to all that school gardens held...

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    Tell us your favorite "One Bite Lessons" and see what others have to shared.
    One Bite Lesson: An edible activity that doesn't require a kitchen or excessive preparation. A fun and creative way to have kids sample plants right from the garden. View...

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    It’s a hot summer day, and students have just harvested the last green beans and peppers from their school gardens. They are looking for some new recipes so they can taste the fruits of their labors. But where to start to find simple, easy ideas to sample and prepare the green beans and peppers they’ve grown?

    The Network for a...

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    Middle and High School gardening programs are often known for a lack of resources to support learning in the classroom and garden. The structure of primary grades and the content that is being taught at the elementary level does make it easier for garden-based learning to occur. But there are many great resources and reasons to continue garden-...

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    Inspiring children to eat more fruits and vegetables can be challenging. But when animated characters Isabel, Mateo and Bluebird talk with children about eating more produce grown in or near their community in a new activity booklet, A Farm 2 Table...

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    Did you know that melons were first cultivated in Persia and northern Africa nearly 4,000 years ago, and later by ancient Greeks and Romans? Or that collard greens were also grown by ancient Greeks and Romans and are the oldest leafy green within the cabbage family? Or that carrots were originally a purplish color and cultivated in...

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    See attached meeting notes in the "Related Documents" box in the upper right corner.

    Next meeting of this gathering of school garden support professionals is June 18th, 2012, at the Blake Garden in Berkeley.

    Sign up to be on the GBARN meeting e-list.

     

     

     

    The FOSS Science Curriculum is used in schools across the state and nation. The cover story of the Cultivating FOSS Connections to Your School Garden, in the Fall 2011 FOSS Newsletter  (No. 38), demonstrates ways to connect FOSS Modules to the garden. Check it out and then...

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    Do you teach kids about where their food comes from? Are you searching for resources to make the garden to table connection?

    If so, the new Edible Schoolyard website, at www.edibleschoolyard.org, is a site you will want to visit.

    Their new site connects edible educators...

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    IRVINE, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2012)—Funded by the California Department of Food & Agriculture, Western Growers Foundation is working with the California Department of Education to award $1,000 each to 100 preschools and child care centers across the state to create an edible garden. Western Growers Foundation—the charitable arm of Western...

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    The Living Classroom School Garden Program is a project of the Los Altos School District.

    The project's mission is: To provide students with enriching and stimulating hands-on instruction directly supporting efforts of the classroom teacher and correlating with the existing curriculum as well as State Standards.

    They effectively...

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    For grades 3-6. Nature's Partners is an inquiry learning-based curriculum for young people in the 3rd through the 6th grade.

    "For grades K-12. Garden based leraning with links to lessons on climate change, water, water-energy articles, and children and nature. Children and nature lessons for all grades, will pop up in a new on-line window."

    "In depth documentation of exemplary middle school garden programs from across California. Includes lesson plans, tips and more."

    "Film exposes how, with the help of government subsidies, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, America's most subsidized crop becomes the staple of its cheapest--and most troubling--foods. "

    "6th-8th grade curriculum is designed to: Develop an awareness of the many varied facets of horticulture; Develop positive attitudes toward the impact of horticulture on society. Understand the nutritional, aesthetic, environmental, and therapeutic values of horticulture and much more...

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    30 plus garden related lessons

    30 plus plant science lessons

    "For grades K-4 One of the most complete list of lessons used in a garden-based school program that serves 1,800 students in Loveland OH. More than just lessons, but a complete guide to running a comprehensive garden program!"

    "Education programs give teachers and other educators the resources to help students develop a passion for helping others. Lesson plans, action ideas, activities, multimedia supplements and other tools help lead students on the path to global citizenship. "

    For grades 4-5. 15 lessons developed for the George Watts Montessori Edible Garden. Aligned with NC standards

    "Garden Mosaics is a youth and community education program that combines science learning with intergenerational mentoring, multicultural understanding, and community action. "

    "For grades K-8. Lessons revolving around plant and soil nutrition. Garden vocabulary for primary and secondary children, as well as supporting materials. "

    "Fresh is more than a movie, it

    "Promotes approaches to learning that help people better understand the interrelationships among agriculture, the environment and people of the world. "

    A special needs class at Monte Vista Middle School in Camarillo is experiencing the joys of gardening.

    A class of 12 autistic students in sixth through eighth grade is learning about planting, growing and harvesting a variety of vegetables under the tutelage of Dianne Polen, the school's Life Lab and campus beautification coordinator....

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    While managing the Life Lab Garden Classroom I have learned what makes a good sign - a good sign is one that you don't have to repair year after year. Unless of course you want sign making to be a project for your students year after year.

    Labeling plants helps kids to learn about them and connect what they eat with what is growing...

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    “Gardening is a really good way for kids to learn about life cycles of plants, and the elements that it takes for them to grow,” said Stan Miller, associate superintendent at Nevada County Superintendent of Schools. “It can be a jumping off point for a lot of different lessons. It's a great opportunity for kids to learn.”...

    “Almost...

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    Thanks to a donation by Carlsbad-based company Jenny Craig, Jefferson Elementary students have learned to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy composting at school. Read more at Carlsbad Patch

    ...

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    The seeds Toyon Middle School students planted in the spring are now being harvested, and they are getting to taste the fruits of their labor.

    In Kevin Hesser's landscape/garden class, students have grown more than 500 pounds of food this year that they are putting to good use each Friday with classroom cooking lessons. The students have...

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    Many of us in the teaching field, and the kids we work with, have always felt that being in the garden can lift our mood. Is it the sunshine and outdoors? Is it the great exercise that happens in the garden? Is it the connection to the earth? Is it the accomplishment of growing something beautiful and nutritious? Well, yes, it could be all of...

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    Attention teachers, students and parents! Can you name all of the plant parts that people eat? Listen to this song by the Banana Slug String Band to learn more. Their popular tune Roots, Stems Leaves gives a hint. Before you play it...

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    In November 2010, Congress approved a resolution to officially designate October as National Farm to School Month. The passage of House Resolution 1655 demonstrates the growing importance and role of Farm to School programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food. Want to...

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    NEW! Nourish Short Films DVD
    54 Bite-Sized Videos about the Story of Your Food
    With thought-provoking commentary and beautiful visuals, Nourish Short Films explores the story of our food through 54 bite-sized videos. Packed with inspiration and ideas, the DVD features Michael Pollan, Anna Lappé, Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters, Bryant...

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    Today, Western Growers Foundation awarded $1,500 grants to nine schools in California and Arizona to help grow school gardens. Since 2002, the effort has funded more than 500 school gardens throughout California and Arizona.

    Studies show school gardens increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables by children. The...

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    Link to Google Docs Version of Notes

    Greater Bay Area School Garden Regional Network Meeting at Collective Roots, East Palo Alto Charter School, Wednesday June 22nd, 12:30-3:30


    ...

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    In 2011 Life Lab, along with the CSGN, shared results from the California School Garden Survey. Over 500 schools responded. The response was much less than prior statewide data collected via the California Instructional School Garden Grant Program which collected data from 3,900 school garden sites and sites requesting funds to start school...

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    GREATER BAY AREA REGION SCHOOL GARDEN NETWORK (GBARN)
    January 12, 2011 Location: StopWaste Bldg., Oakland

    Link to Meeting Notes

    Present: John Fisher – UCSC/Life Lab, Lisa Preschel... Read More

    GREATER BAY AREA REGION SCHOOL GARDEN NETWORK (GBARN)
    January 12, 2011 Location: StopWaste Bldg., Oakland

    Present: John Fisher – UCSC/Life Lab, Lisa Preschel – OAEC/Sonoma School Garden Network, Cassie Bartholomew – StopWaster.org, Abby Jaramillo – Urban Sprouts, Marika
    Bergslund – Growing Great, Arden...

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    California School Garden Network Hosts Garden Makeover at Locke High School in Los Angeles

    Los Angeles (October 21, 2006), First Lady Maria Shriver joins the California School Garden Network (CSGN) and hundreds of students, teachers, families and volunteers at the launch of the inaugural California School Garden Week at Locke High School...

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    On the South Steps of the State Capitol, First Lady Maria Shriver joined business and environmental leaders, school children and families in celebrating ways to preserve the environment in an effort to promote a greener future for the children of this state. Special guest Bob Saget served as Mater of Ceremonies and NBA star Vlade Divac joined...

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    SACRAMENTO - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has announced that schools can now apply for $15 million in grants to invest in school gardens.

    The Instructional School Garden Program funds were authorized by Assembly Bill 1535, authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles). California public schools,...

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    SACRAMENTO, CA March 29, 2006 — The California School Garden Network (CSGN) announces www.csgn.org, a one-stop-shop for teachers seeking information about establishing, funding and maintaining school gardens. The CSGN and its Web site are the fruits of ongoing collaboration between state agencies, private...

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