Eat Local

Published on September 3rd, 2010 | by Heather Carr


Grants for School Gardens Through The People’s Garden

The federal government is giving out $1 million in grants for school gardens. As part of The People’s Garden School Pilot Program, schools or other public and not-for-profit organizations which meet certain criteria will receive money to plan and develop a garden and to create lesson plans and assess the learning outcomes associated with the garden.

Why Have a School Garden?

A school garden can be used to teach nutrition, ecology, biology, math, and economics. Many kids don’t know where their food comes from. We learned on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution that a lot of first-graders can’t even identify various fruits and vegetables. A garden also gets kids out in the fresh air.

The produce from one of The People’s Gardens may be used for school food, student households, local food banks, or senior center nutrition programs.

One of the purposes of the program is to identify successful school gardens and then build a curriculum which can be sent to interested schools for starting their own gardens.

Qualifying for The People’s Garden grants

In order for a school to qualify for The People’s Garden grants, at least 50% of the students must be eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.

The school garden can be run by any of a number of non-profit groups, including but not limited to the school itself, another school (for instance, a group of high school students run a garden at a local elementary school), a church group, or the local garden club.  The deadline for application is 08 Nov 2010.

More information and resources

The People’s Garden grant applications.
The People’s Garden press release.

Resources for setting up and running a school garden (also in PDF format).
A teaching toolkit for setting up and running a school garden (only in PDF).

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography, used with a Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .

2 Responses to Grants for School Gardens Through The People’s Garden

  1. Too bad this is limited to low income schools. (In order for a school to qualify for The People’s Garden grants, at least 50% of the students must be eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.) The govt might stop and acknowledge that schools in middle class areas are concerned with fighting childhood obesity and poor eating habits too. ALL schools would benefit from the lessons gained through having a school garden. I find this limitation very disappointing and frustrating when we are trying so hard to get nutrition onto the awareness ‘table’.

    • Cynthia says:

      This is a pilot program. If it succeeds, it could be used more generally, hopefully, in every school. Every initiative has limitations but we have to start somewhere. Let’s stay positive and hope it succeeds so that the Dept of Ed/USDA will adopt the program as a standard for all schools.

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