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Garden-Based Learning

Experience-based learning in a garden teaches children memorable lessons about fruits and vegetables. Children can plant, tend, harvest, and taste fresh produce that may be unfamiliar to them.

Let’s Get Growing
Garden-based learning also connects kids back to Texas agriculture and introduces them to new foods. Research has shown that when children are involved in the planting and growing process they are more willing to taste these foods. 

Let’s Get Growing is a four-part resource to help you plan, grow, harvest and connect to develop a sustainable garden program. 

  • PLAN supports sustainability and longevity for educational gardens. 
  • GROW uses current industry research to ensure child and adult safety in the garden. 
  • HARVEST promotes educators and garden coordinators working together to ensure the safe production of fruits and vegetables. 
  • CONNECT helps develop communication plans to ensure families and community members are aware of educational garden opportunities. Click on the button below for more details.


  


   
 
  




Garden-Based Learning for Early Child Care Settings  Minimize 

Grow It, Try It, Like It! Preschool Fun with Fruits and Vegetables
This garden-themed nutrition education kit was developed by USDA’s Team Nutrition and can be used by child care center and day care home staff. It introduces children to three fruits — peaches, strawberries and cantaloupe, and three vegetables — spinach, sweet potatoes and crookneck squash. The kit includes seven booklets featuring fun activities and can be used to introduce any fruit or vegetable. The complete kit can be downloaded from Team Nutrition’s Resource Library.

Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package
The curriculum was developed for preschool-age children by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in partnership with childcare provider company New Horizon Academy, with support from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The curriculum and associated materials include practical, experience-tested strategies to try out new approaches in child care settings including menu innovations, classroom activities and family engagement ideas.

Seed Sprouting Curriculum

This preschool curriculum focuses on teaching children that they can grow food. It was created by Island Grown Schools in Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts to help children gain confidence in their selection of healthy food choices. It is organized by age and by season, allowing for easy planning for activities all year.

Reach for the Stars: Growing Young Minds with Farm to Preschool

The North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network developed this research-based resource to help child care centers and family child care homes integrate Farm to Child Care activities into their curriculum while addressing the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS), an inclusive evaluation tool, based on seven categories. This resource is organized by four Farm to Child Care activities: edible gardening, farm field trips/farmer visits, local food classroom cooking and taste tests, and local food served in meals and snacks.




Garden-Based Learning for K-12 Students  Minimize 

Dig In! Standards-Based Nutrition Education from the Ground Up
This ten-lesson curriculum kit, developed by USDA’s Team Nutrition, uses a school garden setting to engage fifth and sixth grade students in learning about fruits and vegetables through growing, harvesting and tasting. The kit includes a gardening guide, teacher guide, lesson materials, at home parent booklets and posters

The Great Garden Detective Adventure
This eleven–lesson curriculum, developed by USDA’s Team Nutrition, guides third and fourth grade students through a series of investigations that connect the school garden to the classroom, cafeteria and home. Materials include a teacher guide, curriculum lessons with activity materials and newsletters to send home with students and share information with parents.

Got Veggies? 
Got Veggies? is a garden-based nutrition education curriculum developed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program for second and third grade students. This guidebook features seven full lesson plans, each including an overview, list of objectives, a list of needed materials and directions for lesson activities.




Resources from USDA  Minimize 
School Garden Frequently Asked Questions, memo SP 32-2009, provides guidance on how school garden and cafeteria programs can partner to create a campus or district garden program.

Farm to School and School Garden Expenses, memo SP 06-2015, provides guidance about the use of funds from the nonprofit school food service account to cover expenditures related to farm to school activities and school gardens.

School Garden Fact Sheet, this resource provides an overview of how school gardens support the development of healthy habits in cafeterias, classrooms and communities.


Other Resources  Minimize 
Garden Based Learning
Discover the benefits of garden based learning in this easy-to-read resource created by TDA. See how garden based learning can be utilized to strengthen learning for all ages and subjects.



Eat Smart… it’s in the Garden
This resource, developed by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, helps explain all aspects of a school garden, including planning, suggestions for getting the community and administration’s buy-in, incorporating garden-based learning into curriculum an incorporating garden harvest into cafeteria meals.

Aggie Horticulture Website
This website offers information and resources for garden managers, including planning and development tools and an Easy Gardening Series with information specific to fruit and vegetable varieties that grow well in Texas climates.

Food Safety Tips for School Gardens
If you are interested in using school garden produce in cafeteria meals or student taste testing activities, please review this reference guide developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) in partnership with USDA. The guide outlines practices that will help program operators enhance the safety of fruits and vegetables grown in a school garden.

REAL School Gardens
This organization helps elementary schools create and sustain school gardens, by encouraging the use of gardens to support students’ learning and fostering cooperation among schools, families and the community.

Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit for implementing youth gardens
This easy-to-use toolkit, developed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program and the Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Program, provides a framework for starting a fruit and vegetable garden. The toolkit is designed to walk you through the basic steps of starting and maintaining a garden.

School Garden Assessment Tool
This school garden assessment tool, developed by The Edible Schoolyard Project, provides a framework for collecting data on the functionality of school gardens and determining areas of need, including training, technical assistance and financial support.

Incorporating School Garden Language into a School Wellness Policy
This guide, developed by the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative, outlines two ways to effectively integrate school garden language into a district wellness policy. 




In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

© 2018 Texas Department of Agriculture