Comments on the Idea -- "A Garden at Every School" @

This idea was voted as one of the top 10 ideas in the 2010 Ideas for Change in America competition.

Good Food For All Kids: A Garden at Every School

By planting a garden at every school in America, we will ensure that every child has the opportunity to benefit from eating more fresh healthy foods. A well-planned edible schoolyard can supply a significant portion of a school's daily food needs. By cultivating a garden together, children learn vital skills in team work, problem solving, creative planning, and sustainable living. Garden-based classes are a great way to complement classroom education in many subjects including biology, botany, ecology, mathematics, nutrition, art, and writing. Most importantly, gardening is fun for kids! School gardens can dramatically enliven the learning process by giving students the ability to connect in a very experiential and hands-on way with the incredible living world unfolding all around them. The diet of America's youth needs to improve. Hunger, bad nutrition and obesity among children are leading causes of health risks and often contribute to poor classroom performance. For all of these reasons and many more, let's support the vision for a garden growing at every school in America!
- Ethan Genauer Jan 25 @ 11:20PM PST


phoebe godfrey

I agree- learning needs to be more than from books- it needs to be experiential and balanced and living…its needs to engage children's minds, and their hearts and their hands- its needs to return them to the basics of live- growing / producing food…
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* Ethan Genauer
Jan 30, 2010 @ 02:47PM PT
Ethan Genauer

A few more great reasons why everyone should vote for THIS idea: 1) It is achievable. Thousands of U.S. schools already have gardens. There are national non-profit programs such as Life Labs and Farm to School that can help implement this. 2) Now is a politically opportune moment for it. FLOTUS Michelle Obama is beginning to focus on improving childhood nutrition as her main policy interest. With demonstrable public support strongly behind the idea of universal school gardens, the White House will be motivated to provide the leadership and incentives to help make it happen. 3) Kids are the most vulnerable and voiceless people in our society. America's children don't get to vote on the government, or much of anything in their daily lives, so it's up to us "adults" to speak out and advocate on behalf of their best interests and future!

* Anne Nagro
Mar 04, 2010 @ 04:18AM PT
Anne Nagro

Let's all set an example, too, by doing - get involved in a youth garden project - we all need volunteers! - start one in your community or at your school, or even garden in your yard or on your porch steps and invite your children and neighborhood kids to be part of it. I'm a school garden volunteer. Check out my website for lots of school garden resources -

* Anna Wei
Mar 09, 2010 @ 07:03AM PT
Anna Wei

Yes YES YES! Vote for this! The majority of our farmers in America are over the age of 50, and they comprise of only a tiny fraction of our country's population feeding a growing demand for local and sustainable food.

Not only will this encourage kids to become their community's food grower, but this idea will help restore the knowledge and appreciation of healthy, local food at a young age as well as encouraging kids to stay connected to their land.

* Caryn Summers
Mar 10, 2010 @ 07:36AM PT
Caryn Summers

By giving our children an opportunity to learn the skills of gardening, no matter what their home situations are, we are giving them skills they can use for the rest of their lives! Please let them enjoy the benefits of "Dirt Therapy" while they are young… it will get them through so much as adults!

  1. Natalie Aldern

Jan 26, 2010 @ 08:39AM PT
Natalie Aldern

Absolutely agree! Access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege. Teaching kids the importance of good nutrition will help them stay healthy for life.

  1. ken hargesheimer

Jan 29, 2010 @ 07:20PM PT
ken hargesheimer

Every school should teach gardening in every grade. Use organic, no-till in permanent beds which any child can do because it does not require any physically hard work: plant and harvest. Free info at moc.liamg|smrafinim#moc.liamg|smrafinim
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* Hamsa Kurth Newmark
Mar 10, 2010 @ 09:58AM PT
Hamsa Kurth Newmark


  1. elizabeth dry

Jan 30, 2010 @ 07:11AM PT
elizabeth dry

We must get a communities back involved in the schools- what abetter way than establishing common ground with a garden! Gardens bring eyes to the street and can bring those same eyes to our schools.

* Neil Blonstein
Feb 02, 2010 @ 03:11PM PT
Neil Blonstein

There is a Green Committee of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for teachers concerned with teaching gardening and recycling among other activities.

The turnout at several monthly meetings has varied from 20 to 50 people. I have recently retired. The majority are classroom teachers. What can retirees do?

  1. Kristen Ridley

Feb 01, 2010 @ 11:19AM PT
Kristen Ridley

This is such a fantastic idea. I fear it is not exciting enough to get the attention it deserves, but luckily schools can implement this plan themselves with very little money.
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Feb 02, 2010 @ 05:58AM PT
Maxine Mesko

Not only in the elementary schools - but also in middle and high schools - making agriculture an elective would be a fantastic idea!

* Joy Williams
Mar 10, 2010 @ 09:29AM PT
Joy Williams

I like your idea, a lot!

  1. D'Aun Carrell

Feb 09, 2010 @ 04:22PM PT
D'Aun Carrell

Children are very sensual: anything they can touch, prepare, smell, taste, watch grow becomes a part of their being. "A garden on every corner" is a great slogan.

MALNUTRITION IS hunger, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, DDHD, HD, rickets, starvation. MALNUTRITION COVERS IT ALL.

Now: concentrate on BON-NUTRITION aka GOOD NUTRITION is glowing good health, clear minds, strong bodies, laughing eyes and singing hearts.

Gardens: whether on a window sill or schoolyard, they are glowing standards for BON-NUTRITION!

  1. Joanne Flynn

Feb 10, 2010 @ 07:09AM PT
Joanne Flynn

I totally agree that growing our own food should be part of everyones formative years and education. The Martin Luther King School's garden program in Berkley is an excellent example to model.

We need to learn and pass on the tools of sustainability and self reliance as a part of life the way we live life.

  1. Nan Bambara

Feb 13, 2010 @ 06:22PM PT
Nan Bambara

Great to read the enthusiasm around this topic. We have an incredible initiative in Baltimore, a growing number of school yard gardens, a learning seminar in March for educators to learn more about the benefits and how to start a garden at their school and any amazing learning farm - Great Kids Farm - for the city school kids to visit and experience first hand what is tastes like to pop a tomato in their mouths and explode with flavor and also to know that it grew from a seed in the ground that were cared for by someone. I am an intern in the Masters Gardener Urban Gardening program in Baltimore City and a volunteer at Great Kids Farm.

  1. Bryan D. Freehling

Feb 15, 2010 @ 10:43PM PT
Bryan D. Freehling

Many families choose not to pack their kids’ lunches. These families believe that their kids can get a well balanced meal at schools. Unfortunately, the national school lunch program is not as good as some might think.

The National School Lunch Program was initiated by Congress and signed into law by President Truman 1946. Interestingly enough, the NSLP was developed in part to address the plethora of men who were denied admittance to the US armed forces during World War II draft due to nutritional deficiencies.

Today, the National School Lunch Program provides meals to more than 30 million students nationwide. For those students whose families live below 130 percent poverty level (an income of $27,560 for a family of four), the lunch is free. Those who live between 130 percent and 185 percent poverty level (an income of $39,220) pay a reduced price for lunch, no more than 40 cents. And all others pay full price.

Schools that participate in the NSLP get cash subsidies and commodities from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as long as their lunches meet Federal requirements.

* Jamie Walker
Mar 12, 2010 @ 11:04AM PT
Jamie Walker

Would you provide reference for this sentence please?;

…."The National School Lunch Program was initiated by Congress and signed into law by President Truman 1946. Interestingly enough, the NSLP was developed in part to address the plethora of men who were denied admittance to the US armed forces during World War II draft due to nutritional deficiencies….."

Just another example of an idea instituted for the public good.

  1. Bryan D. Freehling

Feb 15, 2010 @ 10:44PM PT
Bryan D. Freehling

According to a USDA Food and Nutrition Service fact sheet, “school lunches must meet the applicable recommendations of the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Regulations also establish a standard for school lunches to provide one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories.”

That means that, overall, school meals are very balanced, according to Alexis Steines, Public Affairs Associate for the School Nutrition Association in Washington DC. “All school meals have to meet strict nutritional values set by the federal government, and there are also requirements that some states put into place over their program.”

The biggest problem, Steines says, is that students can choose food items from the a la carte lines that are not as balanced and nutritious as the actual school meal. “The dietary guidelines for the a la carte line hasn’t been updated since the 1970s,” Steines says. “So students can purchase beverages or snack items that don’t meet the USDA dietary guidelines.”

But Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PRCM), also based out of DC, says there's an even bigger problem than the a la carte line: the food pyramid that school lunch programs follow. Levin says the pyramid, which was created by the USDA, is flawed because it favors the interests of agricultural industry. Specifically, she says, the allowances for fat are too high.

  1. Bryan D. Freehling

Feb 15, 2010 @ 10:44PM PT
Bryan D. Freehling

"And eighty percent of schools do not meet the USDA standards for fat composition," Levin says. She explains that in addition to reimbursing schools for a portion of their lunches, the USDA gives the schools overproduced meat and dairy products for freeproducts that are fat and sugar laden. "The USDA is paying industryhuge corporations—for their overproduced goods," she says.

Children learn and adopt habits early on in life. It is crucial that that children eat meals that are nutritionally balanced. Learning and adopting healthy eating habits will prevent future health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.

If you have children who are in school, get involved in the schools. Talk to principals, food service directors, and even the superintendent. Petition to get rid of vending machines. Solicit help from national organizations like the School Nutrition Association and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; or simply choose to work at the federal level and change what the schools are getting. Get a petition going and take it to your representative; let him or her know that this is the number of people in the district who want to see a change.

For inspiration, visit The Edible Schoolyard’s web site: The Edible Schoolyard is a one-acre garden and kitchen classroom at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California. Each student at the school attends 12 to 30 sessions in the kitchen and garden classrooms, depending on grade level, and the program hosts over 1,000 visitors each year and has inspired countless kitchen and garden programs. Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research

* Thomas King
Mar 01, 2010 @ 01:17PM PT
Thomas King

Many thanks Bryan for the solid information. I am on my way up to the local school to inquire about revitalizing the now derilect school garden in my own community….and thanks to all of the wonderful people who have put their energy into this idea.

Only I can change me. Only you can change you. Together we can change the world!



* Cheryl Hull
Mar 04, 2010 @ 05:00AM PT
Cheryl Hull

The edible schoolyard is a wonderful place. I've had the opportunity to tour the garden. As a dietitian I am excited about the possibility of helping to promote a garden in every school. We must begin to engage childrens' minds and bodies more, encourage them to be outside learning about the wider world.

  1. Ariel Laman

Feb 24, 2010 @ 02:11PM PT
Ariel Laman

This is the most important idea for protecting the health of our future generations. I am 67 and participate in many ways to get kids interested in learning about and growing their own very healthy food. Retired people can volunteer their time to help kids start seeds and follow through the whole process to getting them into good soil. I am on the board of our local TimeBank and also involved with Habitat for Humanity to integrate growing food, with the spaces I know about, and the people. I've copied about 150 recipes that contain the most healthy ingredients, low in saturated fats, high in flavor & combined this with building community.

I think becoming involved in any of the above ways would contribute such essential tools to bringing good health, a viable community & building some important connections with those in your immediate neighborhoods.

  1. Ethan Genauer

Feb 25, 2010 @ 09:40AM PT
Ethan Genauer

Please join us on Facebook at SCHOOL GARDENS ACROSS AMERICA as we play to win the final round!!!

Come join us at

We need everyone's support starting March 1st, 2010 in the "Ideas for Change in America" contest at! Tell your friends to vote for our idea "Good Food For All Kids: A Garden at Every School" … Let's win the contest, for the health and safety of all our young ones, and future generations.

  1. Carolina Alkhamri

Feb 25, 2010 @ 05:39PM PT
Carolina Alkhamri

Fantastic idea!!

During my first five years as a Preschool teacher, I started a garden that grew beyond my wildest dream. It became the source not only for snack for the kids, but it supported all kinds of activities; art, literature ect. and it had a tremendous impact on their self esteem, as they had participated throughout each process. Garden=life:)


  1. Sally Williams

Feb 26, 2010 @ 05:25AM PT
Sally Williams

I posted a similar idea before I saw yours - Create a garden at every school. Mine received 56 votes and some good comments. I'd be happy to support your idea. Sally Williams

  1. jean paskalides

Mar 01, 2010 @ 11:19AM PT
jean paskalides

This could partner with the Peace Gardens Project and create Peace and Caring Gardens, as opposed to "Victory gardens" which brings to mind war and winners and losers. The Peace Gardens could be a place to bring peace and respect for all living things to the hearts of all who participate. The produce could be shared to feed the hungry and spread more peace without religious dogma or pro-military rhetoric. Doing good for goodness sake.

  1. Logan Smith

Mar 01, 2010 @ 01:11PM PT
Logan Smith

Google permaculture, using permaculture in conjunction with the school gardens have many, many payoffs.
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  1. Nancy Passman

Mar 01, 2010 @ 01:55PM PT
Nancy Passman

I like that this idea can directly affect and involve kids. They are our future.


  1. Ramona Lee

Mar 01, 2010 @ 02:34PM PT
Ramona Lee

This is the wonderful way to start to improve our nation's health problems.

  1. Marjorie Gardner

Mar 01, 2010 @ 02:39PM PT
Marjorie Gardner

I embrace this wonderful idea! Healthy kids are happy kids. Teaching kids gardening will help them appreciate healthy and wholesome foods.

  1. Jill Morton

Mar 01, 2010 @ 05:53PM PT
Jill Morton

This is an idea whose time has come. What could be a more powerful vehicle for a new generation of Americans who understand where food comes from and how it should be produced for health and sustainability?

  1. Sophia Gabriel

Mar 01, 2010 @ 06:20PM PT
Sophia Gabriel

School's are one of the best places in our country for children and all students into their High School experience to be involved with health food and what it takes to grow organic food….The soil, the weather , the proper seed, composting….This interdisipline active incorporates…the sciences,art,math history, geology….Let's help seed this project…

  1. Brian Parks

Mar 02, 2010 @ 07:18AM PT
Brian Parks

When I look back on my school days, my fondest memories, the thing I remember most, my favorite class was 'Horticulture'. I loved it. All subjects of study were beneficial in some way in my adult life, but the hands-on classes like Wood Shop, Metal Shop, Jewelry, Photography, Graphic Arts, Geography and Biology and especially Horticulture continue to serve me well.

I've been saying for years, "there should be a garden in every school". So let's get this going! The kids who participate in school gardens will be much better off presently, healthwise, but also better adjusted and healthier citizens later in life.

Sadly, the last time I drove by my old school there were portable buildings crowded onto the site of our old horticulture gardens. We worked really hard to create and improve good top soil in the otherwise heavy clay soils. Sad to see the gardens destroyed to make room for overcrowding, thanks in no small part to greedy developers carving every bit of open space into housing in our seaside community.

  1. Sunday Harrison

Mar 02, 2010 @ 05:55PM PT
Sunday Harrison

It would be great if Canada would take on this campaign as well. Here, we have very few school gardens and uneven student nutrition programs, with no federal policy for school food provision like in the US. But my org and a few others are working on the school garden piece - check us out at Our climate is pretty much like Chicago or Milwaukee.

  1. Dylan Ryals-Hamilton

Mar 03, 2010 @ 07:05AM PT
Dylan Ryals-Hamil…

We are about to face an extreme food crisis. The average farmer is currently not only an extreme minority, butis about to retire. The people have mostly moved to the cities and suburbs. We are also staring into the face of a peak oil/energy crisis. Where will our food come from when the farmers all retire and the trucks stop running? We absolutely must bring the food to where the people are, and begin relearning to grow it ourselves. I can see no plan more effective at solving all of these problems than to begin teaching children that food comes from seeds in the ground (not the grocery store) and to begin mobilizing a generation-wide food action force in the form of the common people growing food at schools, in their yards (food not lawns), and on every rooftop, park, median, greenway, and apartment balcony. We have left a shameful legacy for our children's generation. Why not begin preparing them now to deal with a future where they can no longer buy produce from Chile, New Zealand, or indeed even from other parts of the U.S? This is the most critical first step we can take toward building local resilience and better health for people everywhere. Besides, I don't care what Reagan thought, french fries and ketchup do not count as a vegetable!
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  1. Bernadette Albright

Mar 05, 2010 @ 07:07AM PT
Bernadette Albright

When schooling originated in America the farmers whose children attended supplied the teacher with meats, produce, grains, etc., Here we are in the new millenium debating food quality for our children. This is absurd. As a member of our local Fair Share Garden, we have participated in planting gardens in 2 local schools, and re-established the historic garden at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. Children must understand the full process of food cultivation, they will be the ones deciding the votes when we are old, we better nourish them with now.

  1. David Chappell

Mar 05, 2010 @ 09:13AM PT
David Chappell

I was an ag student many years ago, got my degree, and couldn't fit into the agribiz world….after many years of being away from the trade, I ended up teaching the garden program at a local elementary school with a half acre garden. It was one of the most rewarding times of my life, and now 12 years after that experience, I STILL see some of my students who ask "how is the garden doing?!!" Impact.

I am now involved in organizing a county-wide effort to link all the garden programs to a statewide network here in california. I have been working with Head Start, and every grade level through high school. There is a lot of exciting work going on out there…but currently it is fairly fractured. National efforts like this one will help to solidify our message to the powers that be that we are united and ready to work for change in the way we teach our kids about health, the environment, and social stability through community effort.

Vote for this important effort!

  1. Roland Evans

Mar 05, 2010 @ 01:28PM PT
Roland Evans

This is such an obviously brilliant idea. I planted my first garden at age 7 and have never looked back. I now have a business making a premium compost tea system called Bountea (see and grow all my own vegetables up in the Rocky Mountains at 7,400 altitude.

I have taught gardening at many levels and know that kids really need to get out and get their hands dirty. The microbes in the soil strengthen young immune systems and the nutrients in organically home grown vegetables are more than twice that of store-bought produce.

All it needs is energy and money.

  1. Rick Parrish

Mar 07, 2010 @ 04:49AM PT
Rick Parrish

I sincerely hope this idea can continue to follow an organic path, especially after it gets into the school systems. As you know, special interests threw a major tantrum when the First Lady announced that her White House garden would be "organic". The schools will soon be more strapped for cash than ever as a result of budget cuts that favor corporate special interests over education and social services (as is happening in my own state, Virginia). Enticements from companies like Monsanto, Bayer and others will be difficult for cash-strapped school districts to resist.

  1. James Godsil

Mar 08, 2010 @ 05:45AM PT
James Godsil

As a step toward this glorious vision, how about we start with…

a worm box and raspberry patch for each and every school!

The garden would soon follow these baby steps.

  1. Rachel Pringle

Mar 08, 2010 @ 09:03AM PT
Rachel Pringle

This is a great idea, also forwarded here in California by Delaine Eastin, the former Superintendent of Public Instruction. She called for a garden in every school during her tenure at the CA Dept. of Education.

I work for the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance and we work with the over 65 school gardens here in SFUSD. Most are simple raised beds and some are more established food systems gardens. (

My colleague and I have just written a book, to be published by Timber Press in June, called How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers. ( It's very much about organizing the community around these garden projects not only to build them, but also to sustain them.

Thanks for this!

Rachel Pringle

SF Green Schoolyard Alliance


Occidental Arts & Ecology Center School Garden Teacher Training Program
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  1. Stephan McGuire

Mar 08, 2010 @ 11:23AM PT
Stephan McGuire

Its essential. I just got back from Namibia a few months ago where I actually had a hand in changing legislature: We mandated that all schools are now ecological learning centers where they are now mandated to include organic food growing and tree planting as part of education curriculum. With smaller countries, its easy to accomplish as there is much less bureaucracy. But it seems that cities, towns, counties and states should be able to create such programs!

  1. susan dean

Mar 08, 2010 @ 05:15PM PT
susan dean

Ths development of outdoor classrooms and organic gardening programs in schools is the way to go. "Last Child in the Woods" says it too if you haven't read it. Quality early childhood education is also critical. I know. I have been a school president and now I am developing outdoor classrooms. Life lab is a great example of one. My web site is if you need more information. I think this should be first priority for too many reasons to mention. susan

  1. Sally Williams

Mar 09, 2010 @ 07:18AM PT
Sally Williams

My nephew gets animated when he talks about his school garden, I am convinced that in addition to other good reasons to create gardens, this is a great way to learn.

  1. shannon synclare

Mar 09, 2010 @ 04:21PM PT
shannon synclare

not only do they learn a lot and have fun, but a kid who grows a vegetable is more likely to eat a vegetable!

  1. Dwight Bobson

Mar 09, 2010 @ 06:44PM PT
Dwight Bobson

I can't recommend a better way for kids to learn life skills. My first garden started before I was in school and I thank my parents for their guidance.

  1. Doug Victor

Mar 10, 2010 @ 05:59AM PT
Doug Victor

Kids need nature and nature needs kids. It's that simple. If we are to reclaim our rights to the land, what better way to begin than with school garden projects in every school across the country. The simple but profound act of putting the fingers in the soil to grow food plants a SEED for a future full of wonder and attainable possiblities.

  1. nancy reike

Mar 10, 2010 @ 06:20AM PT
nancy reike

This is not a new idea by any means. many schools across the country have done this- in the relity that all schools should, our governmnet keeps cutting funds to our schools in areas that should not be cut. they take awy money, they give it back, they take it waway…….

a funding cycle. the key is to make sure it is enacted into a law that each school has to do it.and the government has to fund at least 75% of it.

as sometimes a community has to participate, i think a community can give thay extra 25%.

however good for you for getting it on a siute and getting votes. i definitely say yes to this project

kids will need to know what sustainability is when they are older and how to go about it.

  1. Lavonne Hickl

Mar 10, 2010 @ 06:42AM PT
Lavonne Hickl

This school garden needs to be purely Heritage plants…NO GMO and no MONSANTO!!! The gm foods are no better than the "fast foods" that they are getting in the schools now.

  1. Tony Kaufman

Mar 10, 2010 @ 07:17AM PT
Tony Kaufman

Here at Lake Village Homestead in Kalamazoo, Michigan, we believe strongly in the importance and value of exposing children to how their food moves from farm to table. Our cooperative farm produces grass-fed beef, pastured pork, free-range poultry, chevon, goat milk, eggs, cheese, honey, maple syrup and popcorn. Children of all ages come visit the farm through organized tours and individual family memberships. They respond to the fresh air, the sights, sounds and smells of the animals, and learn lessons large and small about the natural world and their place in it.

Children must learn now the value of caring for clean air, water and earth and how to care for these riches in ecologically sound ways. Schoolyard gardens are an excellent start.

Tony Kaufman, farm manager, Lake Village Homestead

  1. Donna Barr

Mar 10, 2010 @ 07:55AM PT
Donna Barr

Schools should have "Farm teams."


Kids will readily team up and compete like crows; imagine kids from two schools showing off their biggest pumpkins, fattest hens, most exotic potato selections, Top Flight Compost Heaps. With cheerleaders.

If so much funding is being channeled into sports, MAKE farming a sport.

The Olympics in 2018? :)

  1. Paul Engstrom

Mar 10, 2010 @ 10:47AM PT
Paul Engstrom

I think this a great idea. If this program is a suc it could encourage them to persuade their parents to have edible plant landscaping of Front yards instead of lawns and when the children become adults too might do the same. This would make all healthier, reduce trips to market and have fresher produce

Someone with contacts with the Green Party National should persuade them to get behind this idea. It might gain that political party some recognition.

Have efforts been made to contact the great number of garden Clubs and Horticultural Societies?

Good luck and thank you for the information on this.

Paul Engstrom

Los Altos, Califess

Mar 10, 2010 @ 11:02AM PT

Not only Americans but every child living on this earth has got a right to eat healthy food. So you should appeal to the people to teach his child how to plant a tree and enjoy the fruits subsequently. Don't be so self centered.

  1. Neil Blonstein

Mar 10, 2010 @ 02:49PM PT
Neil Blonstein

As a just retired teacher, I must mention, that my last school, for ten years, had an inner courtyard appropriate to allow every third-grader to plant one plant, but I doubt that even 50 children out of one thousand ever laid their hands on the soil. I brought my children down and knew one other teacher and one teacher's aid (out of maybe 60-70 staff) that regularly brought the children to the garden (to plant something). There was no school plan.

I am pleasednearly shockedto see us in the top ten towards the end. We must educate the teachers to utilize the resources existing and to get improved/expanded gardens/terrain.

  1. Linda Harkness

Mar 10, 2010 @ 04:11PM PT
Linda Harkness

Every child should know how to garden and feed themselves. School gardens teach and empower kids!

  1. annette cottrell

Mar 10, 2010 @ 07:51PM PT
annette cottrell

I'm working on a pdf that schools can use in their gardens. I planned a 4x4 garden for kids with 3 season interest, plant list, growing and harvesting directions, recipes and seed savings directions:

I have all the materials on the site as word docs but will be pulling it all together into one easy download for schools or parents to use. I think schools having their own gardens is such an important idea but it needs to be driven by the teachers.

  1. mina SOHAEI

Mar 10, 2010 @ 11:31PM PT


  1. evelyn principe

Mar 11, 2010 @ 03:37AM PT
evelyn principe

A yes vote from me, how important is this and soooo easy to do….beats running to the fast food places to eat, let's go pull a carrot or split open a sweet pea…wonderful..I'll help

  1. season george

Mar 11, 2010 @ 07:37AM PT
season george

My name is Season George, I work for the Not for profit organization, Damayan Garden Project. We have been working for 18 yrs in the tallahassee area installing gardens for schools, low income families, and community rec. centers. It is a dream come true to hear that there is a greater recognition of how valuable a tool a garden can be to a group of people. Thank you for supporting our mission. Please visit us at Good Work!

  1. Douglas Larson

Mar 11, 2010 @ 10:05AM PT
Douglas Larson

I think this is a superb idea. The only thought I have is, while I am aware there are techniques that make it possible to garden year round for many crops, the majority of food crops are harvested in the summer, when most school kids are not in school. Some crops, like peas, would be harvested in May to early June. But the learning from the planning, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting and overall crop managemet could be vast and invaluable for kids.

  1. kathryn guylay

Mar 11, 2010 @ 10:39AM PT
kathryn guylay

Our 100% volunteer organization is already starting to make this happen in our local community in the North Shore of Chicago—- except that our thought is to include cooking classes that help families and kids cook (easily) with the fresh produce. Check out our organization at We have free nutrition education materials for schools under Our Work (see K-5). All it takes is passion and energy to change the world, bite by bite!

  1. chris peterson

Mar 11, 2010 @ 12:30PM PT
chris peterson

I love the idea, worked on it for awhile in my school last year when I was teaching in SLC. The problems I ran up against centered around liabilities for generating food on school district land. The other issue we found is that growing season in colder climes doesn't necessarily coincide with schoolyear schedules. Fortunately, I believe we can generate solutions for both of these issues with policy changes and recruiting local volunteers to tend the gardens.

  1. Adam Wojtanek

Mar 11, 2010 @ 02:20PM PT
Adam Wojtanek

I agree. That is an awesome idea. Surprising no one thought of it earlier.

  1. Aurora Rodriguez

Mar 11, 2010 @ 07:55PM PT
Aurora Rodriguez

It's awesome to see that there are already schools doing this! I wish I had gone to a school that offered this program…I would have known at an early age about growing my own garden and eating healthier! Would have probably avoided many health issues…I think we need to support the idea and promote it in our communities.

  1. Leah Del Signore

Mar 11, 2010 @ 11:22PM PT
Leah Del Signore

For the Houston area, there is Urban Harvest. They have been promoting community, school and backyard gardens for a number of years. They teach a series of classes on how to plan and implement the school or community garden, pamphlets and a gardening book for the Houston area (which is important because our location and weather means we cannot rely on what usually works).

The community gardens frequently contribute fresh foods to food banks. Another important initiative.

Urban Harvest does great things.

  1. Bridget O'Hara

Mar 12, 2010 @ 05:27AM PT
Bridget O'Hara

We have a Peace garden at our local Vance Elementary in Asheville North Carolina. There are many ways to incorporate standard course of study lessons in the garden. Poetry, writing, math, art, weather, life-cycles and other science lessons are all enhanced in the garden.

Gardens are a lot of work! Parents do a tremendous amount but a thriving school garden with incorporated curriculum NEEDS a full time dedicated staff person. After years of winging it we now have a full time Americore volunteer who's passion is getting kids into the garden. She organizes all the volunteers, and works with the city to get mulch and leaves dropped for free. She keeps us on schedule making sure the fruit trees are pruned at the proper time, the seeds are planted at the proper time and the harvest is picked at the proper time. She keeps in touch with everyone through e-mail, notes sent home in school back packs in spanish and english and a bulletin board in the garden. She keeps the tools organized and protected in an cob shed.

This spring as we get started planting we will be installing rainwater catchment that will water our garden with pure beneficial rainwater.

  1. Beuna Tomalino

Mar 12, 2010 @ 06:52AM PT
Beuna Tomalino

Mel Bartholomew, creator of Square Foot Gardening ( developed a gardening school program for schools several years ago. It is a fantastic way to teach children about food, gardening, and other subjects. Elementary schools received kits to help them implement the program. There is a book available with lesson plans (see Square Foot Gardening website or

  1. Glenn Battin

Mar 12, 2010 @ 07:24AM PT
Glenn Battin


get the schools off of DRUGS.

  1. Ethan Genauer

Mar 12, 2010 @ 11:18AM PT
Ethan Genauer

Voting ends at 5 pm today: We're in 7th place with over 4,000 votes and it looks like we're definitely going to be one of the top 10 winners!! Thanks so much to Food Democracy Now!, Slow Money Alliance, Real Food Challenge, Civil Eats, DC Food For All, American Farmland Trust and everyone else who has supported and voted for this ripe idea of "Good Food For All Kids: A Garden at Every School"!!!

You are now invited to join over 2,500 people helping to launch the next phase of this grassroots, do-it-ourselves campaign for universal school gardens at our "School Gardens Across America" Facebook group:


  1. sabrina gorbett

Mar 15, 2010 @ 10:11AM PT
sabrina gorbett

YES! in the Top Ten! Great job to you all who started this and kept it growing.

  1. Jeanette Neeley

Mar 15, 2010 @ 10:43AM PT
Jeanette Neeley

Of course the answer is to work on sustatinability.

This is the system change we need. If you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but if you teach a man to fish he will eat …..:)

  1. Lloyd Helferty

Mar 15, 2010 @ 10:15PM PT
Lloyd Helferty

Schools could better use their unused land resources (like their unused roof resources) to create school food gardens where schools and community members are encouraged to use school land to develop sustainable food gardens aimed at producing fresh food for local communities. Particularly those where access to fresh food is limited.

By directly inspiring youth in 'hands on' sustainable energy and food production programs will provide progressive educators great teaching aids for educating our kids about how to live well sustainably and give our youth a solid foundation that will inspire them to appreciate sustainability and see that it is both practical and doable. They will hopefully be inspired to realize if they can do it, why can't our governments do so?

Bio-char reactors should be made available within our local communities so that green waste can be recycled locally and used to produce a source of soil remediation product that goes directly into these gardens and the landscaping of our cities and towns.

Start by getting biochar into the White House garden.

  1. Wendy McKinnis

Mar 16, 2010 @ 07:25AM PT
Wendy McKinnis

I think this is a great idea and agree with the comments already listed. Healthy eating and where our food comes from needs to be in the forefront of our minds to produce a heathlier generation and children learning first hand is a great way to start this initiative. Children need to learn how important the Earth is and how to save it.

  1. jose maldonado

Mar 16, 2010 @ 09:54PM PT
jose maldonado

to grow your own food is an experience and practice everyone should have. I hope more then anything for all children to partake in growing there own food and have fresh food to eat.

Thank you all for any energy put to such a beautiful cause.

  1. Ursula Garrett

Mar 17, 2010 @ 01:28PM PT
Ursula Garrett

Excelent idea. Does a lot for the kids. Boosts health, self estime, pride in there school etc. They it much better when they learn how the food growsl Also leads to science lessons, art, etc.

  1. Christian Kozloski

Mar 18, 2010 @ 08:01AM PT
Christian Kozloski

Yes Yes Yes a fantastic Idea!

Increasing the knowledge of where our food comes from will also help to re -create the community we so desperately need now.

  1. Raelin Hansen

Mar 25, 2010 @ 07:29PM PT
Raelin Hansen

Yay Vance Elementary, yay Asheville, NC! Yay Bridget! (From a fellow Ashevillian)

As a number of comments here have made clear, large agribiz corporations have been attempting, and at times succeeding, in having undue influence on what goes on at our schools, and what goes into our kids' stomachs. Why am i bringing this up? Because i'd like to ask you, while you're here, to pop over and take a closer look at another Top Ten winner: Move to Amend. I tell you this because one thing that every one of us, with our many causes, must realize, is that this is THE ISSUE on which all other issues ultimately hinge, because corporations have their fingers in EVERY LAST SINGLE PIE! Pass it on! Continue to work for this cause, of course, but join the fight to FIRST OF ALL do away with the absurd fiction of corporate personhood, because the recent Supreme Court decision in "Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission" affects ANY chance that you have of changing existing laws, and indeed threatens the few freedoms we still have! (Because "speech" with money is bigger and louder than anyone's rightful, individual free speech, and advertising [read propaganda] has a notorious power to whip up fear in more malleable members of society. Good education can of course also be an antidote to that malleability.)

I will add this: the most powerful use of - and publicity for - this issue is to make it, for the midterms, a major (even better make it THE MAJOR) campaign issue. If organized groups of people confront the candidates and ask them "How will you vote, or better yet will you co-sponsor a move to amend our constitution, to do away with for once and for all this absurd conception of corporations as persons?" If they won't do that, they shouldn't have our vote! Our freedom and our control over the issues that affect us rest, beneath it all, on this one issue!

  1. Hermine Lee

Mar 31, 2010 @ 05:32AM PT
Hermine Lee

I'm a recently retired teacher and helped before and after retirement in our school garden. This is such a great idea! I've seen the pleasure kids who do not have the opportunity to grow things get in preparing the soil, planting and watching things grow; and moreso eating foods they've grown.I visualize them as adults contributing to our food supply and healthy environment.

  1. Karin Bartimole

Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:10PM PT
Karin Bartimole

Really a great idea, on so many levels. Not only the obvious, of introducing children to whole, healthy, real foods, but so much can be learned through creating and witnessing the cycles of life - practicing nurturing; understanding commitment and responsibility; cooperation with others, because gardens are hard work and wouldn't be possible for one student all alone - so much can be learned by creating and sustaining a healthy garden!

  1. Nicole Duffeck

Apr 06, 2010 @ 06:49PM PT
Nicole Duffeck

This is a fantastic idea! I have an eight year old daughter and six year old son and there's nothing cooler than watching them in our garden at home. They've planted vegies and flower, weeded, watered and eaten home grown organic goodies. It's up lifting to watch children playing outside, call a time out because they're hungry and run over to the raspberry bush to grab a snack. I would support this and donate time and resources to make it a reality and my children's school

  1. Katharina Stieffenhofer

Apr 07, 2010 @ 10:49AM PT
Katharina Stieffenhofer

This new documentary film about a quietly revolutionary school gardening project in the North may be of interest. Please see web-site/trailer link and Lunch Box heroes article link below

  1. Bill Back

Jun 17, 2010 @ 03:11PM PT
Bill Back

I am thinking of starting a summer school gardening class, or a gardeneering camp.

Now is the time!

  1. Lloyd Helferty

Jun 18, 2010 @ 08:43AM PT
Lloyd Helferty

Good Idea regarding starting a summer school gardening class, or a "gardeneering camp"!

Check out the Charcoalab Project:

They are preparing the restart of the Charcoalab Project soon.

Their "biocharkits" will be designed to teach students… and will soon be available to schools and individuals all over the world — in North America too!

  1. Jared Finkelstein

Jun 27, 2010 @ 07:56PM PT
Jared Finkelstein

School gardens are becoming more popular and make such a big difference in the lives of the students. I have seen it first-hand - my company, Teich Garden Systems, has installed school gardens accross the country and in each case the gardens have become a part of various different courses including math, science and even literature.

Hopefully the trend will continue.

Jared T. Finkelstein
Teich Garden Systems

* Lyn Hakeem
Jul 02, 2010 @ 09:50AM PT
Lyn Hakeem

I love what your company is doing. I'm a begining researcher. I will be researching the effects of school garden curriculum on young school age children. This is new to Louisiana. Seafood is king/queen here. I hope to establish school gardens throughout east Baton Rouge parish.

  1. Jane Doe

Dec 05, 2010 @ 07:56PM PT
Jane Doe

There's nothing wrong with kids eating healthier…. but WHERE will all of this 'intervention' and INFILTRATING our youth end?! Sorry, but I have a problem with Government MEDDLING in FOOD now! Do you Sheeple not see what is happening here? Big Brother deciding FOR your kids what to eat!! It's just a FOOT IN THE DOOR to MANDATING what they eat! Soon they will even be dictated to as to what foods they can BRING to school for lunch!

The recent, unconstitutional passing of bill S510 (Food "Safety" Act) is bad enough…. as it and other unconstitutional legislation was designed to further control every aspect of our lives and soon wipe out the Middle Class! Just a matter of time, people. Enjoy what freedoms you have LEFT while you can!

  1. Lyn Hakeem

Dec 06, 2010 @ 07:23PM PT
Lyn Hakeem

Dear Jane Doe;

I believe that most of us would agree with the statement about Government Meddling. A garden in every school has less to do with government control and more to do with empowering people with the knowledge of gardening and the concept of self determination. People need to know what kinds of foods lend to strong bodies and sound minds, and they also need to know how they might produce their own. With the way health care is going in this country it would be wise to understand that "we are what we eat, from our heads to our feet".

  1. Chase Gentry

Dec 22, 2010 @ 08:55PM PT
Chase Gentry

A garden at every school across the nation would be great. it would be a smart way to teach children about nutrition, hard work, exercise, and an attempt to do away with childhood obesity.

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