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School Gardens & Garbage to Gardens

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Starting Your School Garden: Download this guide to getting started on developing a plan to build and sustain a school garden. From crafting a school garden team to managing volunteers, learn best practices to set your school up for success.

Garbage to Gardens is a program designed to divert school-waste streams from the cafeteria for better uses than landfilling, like composting and recycling. Sourcing sustainable cafeteria products, and transforming communities through environmental education, outreach, and institutional behavior change are also major components of this program.

Interested in starting a Garbage to Gardens program at your school? Check out this Getting Started Guide.


  • To encourage children to rethink their resource use and understand the processes by which we can find value in our waste stream and conserve natural resources
  • To show the complete cycle by which waste is generated, returned to the soil, decomposed, then utilized as nutrients used to generate more food where the process begins again
  • To incorporate waste diversion and composting into daily best management practices, making this behavior a routine part of the school day for students
  • To divert waste streams from the landfill through service learning techniques To teach these processes such that a student feels comfortable practicing them outside of the school

Program Background: The Garbage to Gardens program originated in 2019 as an experimental project known as “Waste Free Wednesday” at Winter Park Elementary School. The project focused on diverting school lunch waste, one day a week, from the landfill and turning it into a valuable resource (i.e. compost) that could then be returned to the school for use in their garden. With continued support from the staff and parents at Winter Park, community leaders, business owners and environmental educators, the program continues to be refined and has evolved into what is now known as Garbage to Gardens. The program expanded in 2021 to DC Virgo, diverting waste five days a week.

Home Resources:

School Resources:

Use the following links to view compost curricula:

Check out this promotional video produced by Bootscrap Productions for the Garbage to Gardens program

Our future depends on inspiring a new generation of horticulturalists. Check out the work of Seed Your Future working towards those ends.