How Does Your Garden Grow?

April 26, 2012

community garden, Colorado becominggreenblog.c...

With pole beans climbing high in the sky? Or with tomato plants all in a row? If you join us in our mission for helping kids to eat, move, and enjoy healthy balance, you have surely made the connection between gardening and healthy kids. It’s the real-world Hear-See-Do model for helping kids make the connection about food and nutrition and health.

Gardens of all shapes and sizes are growing anywhere and everywhere these days. In honor of National Garden Month, I want to share some trustworthy web resources for gardening with kids. These are only some of my favorites, and I’d be happy to share more if you like!

  1. Kids Gardening is a wonderful resource from the National Gardening Association, with a plethora of info, including their sections devoted to school gardening and family gardening.
  2. American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) builds community by increasing and enhancing community gardening. Be sure to check out their Rebel Tomato  section, a web-based tool for designing and planning community gardens.
  3. Let’s Move Community Garden Guide is a PDF file download that gives you how-to’s and similar links as I’ve listed here.
  4. California School Garden Network has everything from basics to a “garden to cafeteria” section. Just read their vision: “By encouraging and supporting a garden in every school, we create opportunities for our children to discover fresh food, make healthier food choices, and become better nourished.” Beautiful! They also have a downloadable guidebook, Gardens for Learning.
  5. REAL School Gardens Resource Guide – While it’s a great site overall, what I really love is their extensive list of resources for school garden curriculum.
  6. School Garden Network is a Sonoma County, California-based nonprofit, so while it’s set up to benefit its local area, the web site is full of ideas and resources to help anyone from beginner to experienced. See their “Local Gardens” page for real stories and pictures of how schools are using their garden spaces.
  7. School Garden Wizard – This site walks you through the entire process from its “Making the Case” section, which includes templates and proposal worksheets, to “Keep it Growing” with sustainability and self-assessment tools.
  8. Junior Master Gardener (JMG) program is a youth gardening program of the University Cooperative Extension network. Its curriculum is aligned with state teaching standards for grades 3-8, and groups participate in service learning and earn certifications.
  9. Grow It, Try It, Like It! USDA nutrition education kit is a garden-themed kit for child care centers. It introduces kids to 3 fruits and 3 vegetables: peaches, strawberries, cantaloupe, spinach, sweet potatoes, and squash.
  10. Master Gardener  and the USDA Cooperative Extension  both help you locate a gardening expert near you.

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