Gardens act as living classrooms providing students with hands-on education in food awareness and environmental sustainability. Through planting, harvesting and tasting fresh fruits and vegetables students learn about making healthy food choices and expand their knowledge of the ecosystems we all depend on.

Garden to Table Program

The Garden to Table Program is a comprehensive elementary school program that incorporates academic learning into a school garden. Growe has developed standards-based lessons which provide students with opportunities to use science, math and language arts in a garden setting learning first-hand about ecology, economics, meteorology, and the importance of supporting healthy ecosystems.

"The program brings the school and the local community together to address the health and environmental issues facing society."
Who's involved
  1. Principals provide program leadership throughout the school community
  2. Teachers enrich education through academic standards-based garden lessons
  3. Parents and Community Volunteers support classroom lessons and provide garden care
Goals
  1. Enrich Student Education: by using on-site gardens to teach academic subjects.
  2. Address Health & Environmental Issues: by teaching the importance of food choice.
  3. Building Community: by engaging schools and local community in the Garden to Table program. Gardens act as living classrooms, providing students with hands-on education in food awareness and environmental sustainability.
why it works

Real Life Lessons

The Garden to Table program employs experiential learning as tool for helping teachers connect academic subjects to real life. A math lesson in the garden not only teaches students about units of measure, it provides them with an opportunity to practice these skills and apply the knowledge through hands on activities in the garden. The experiential learning framework employed in each of our Garden to Table lessons is based on four elements:

  1. Connection: of academic subjects to real life activities.
  2. Knowledge: reinforcing and expanding students understanding of academic subjects.
  3. Skills: Providing opportunities to learn new skills and build proficiency
  4. Application: empowering students to use the knowledge and skills they have learned in everyday life.

How it Impacts our Students

Data collected from Garden to Table lesson surveys show that the program is fun for students, motivating to teachers and inspiring to parents. Numerous children have had opportunities to taste foods they have never tried before, and many families have been inspired to start gardens at home. The survey data we collect from students ensures that our lessons remain meaningful, relevant and impactful. 2012 survey data shows that we:

  1. Help students learn Academic Subjects – 84% of 1st graders say the planting lesson helped them learn the science of what plants need to grow.
  2. Support healthy eating habits – 93% of 4th graders say the garden nutrition lesson motivated them to try eat more fruits and vegetables
  3. Build Community – 93% of 2nd graders say the harvesting lesson taught them the importance of working together as a group.
  4. Promote Environmental Stewardship – 98% of 5th graders say that climate lesson in the garden helped them care more about the environment.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the cost of the program?
There are annual program fees for the program according to the size of the school. Initial start up costs associated with the program include:
- garden bed installation
- program training for teachers and parents
- spring and fall lesson materials
- program management support
Who designs gardens and lessons?
Growe has skillfully designed the lesson plans and materials ensuring the classes meet academic standards. Plant selection and elements of the garden design are standardized to ensure functionality and workability with class lessons.
Who teaches?
Garden to Table schools receive training support in grade level lessons to ensure teachers are comfortable using the gardens as their classroom. School parents provide teachers with volunteer support during lessons.
What is the time requirement?
Program lessons involve each grade in one lesson in spring and fall. Garden to Table lessons are designed to integrate with core curriculum. Lessons include standards teachers are already covering and serve as either an introduction or a recap of a larger academic unit. Teachers are free to use the school gardens as much as they like and many schools create additional garden based learning activities throughout the season.
What are the surveys for?
The full cost of operating a garden to table program requires that the Growe Foundation seek funding support from sponsors, donors and grant making organizations. Lesson surveys are a tool for schools and Growe to capture data and measure the impact that we are having on student learning.
What is the school food project?
The School Food Project is an initiative led by Boulder Valley School District and a coalition of community supporters aimed at reforming school food offerings.