School gardens are continuing to grow in popularity due to their array of benefits to both education and school nutrition programs. With seemingly endless opportunities for garden-based educational lessons in any academic subject, and harvests being incorporated in school meals, school gardens are sprouting up in districts across the state.
Brendan Ryan, the school nutrition director at Framingham Public Schools, is a forerunner in school gardening. He first implemented the district’s admirable 50-yard garden 6 years ago. Each year in May the seeds are planted and the garden is run entirely by students from various clubs, the honors society, and some are even hired as student lead growers who take care of the crops throughout the summer. All food grown in the garden is used to supplement the school nutrition program and provides students with locally grown food.
Are you interested in school gardening? FSU is offering a 4-week online Growing Your School Garden course that starts July 11 and goes until August 5. Click here for registration information. You can also find many useful resources on the Go Green for Schools page in the JSI Resource Center. If gardening isn’t an option for your district, farm to cafeteria is a great way to get locally grown food into your school nutrition program.