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.
- Eastern North Carolina Planting Calendar for Annual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs
- Vegetable Planting Guide for School Gardens in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of NC
- Vegetable Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide from NCSU and NCA&T
- NC Farm to School: Forming Garden Teams, Cafeteria: Promotion & Procurement, School Gardens, and Cooking in the Classroom
- Farm to School Coalition of NC: Amazing resource library.
- Farm to Early Care and Education: Programs, Guides, Toolkits, Resources. Farm to ECE Local Purchasing Guide.
- Gardening in Preschools NC State Resources for Gardening in Early Child Care Education
- Read more at: https://localfood.ces.ncsu.edu/local-food-farm-to-school/local-food-school-gardens/ — includes lesson plans, garden-based curricula, planting guides, and other resources/
- USDA People’s Garden Registration: The U.S. Department of Agriculture welcomes you to join the People’s Garden network by registering your school garden, community gardens, urban farms, and small-scale agriculture projects as a People’s Garden. Once you join, USDA will send you a sign and remind you of upcoming People’s Garden news and events. Join here.
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 Waste Habits Survey for New Hanover County residents – (English)
- Encuesta Comunitaria – “De Basura a Jardines” (Spanish)
- Newsletter – Garbage to Gardens
- Please email Sara Dousharm, Garbage to Gardens Program Coordinator, if your school is interested in learning more about Garbage to Gardens: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Teacher Interest Form – Garbage to Gardens
- Volunteer Interest Form – Garbage to Gardens
- Winter Park Parent Volunteer Sign Up
- DC Virgo Parent Volunteer Sign Up
Use the following links to view compost curricula:
- North Carolina Composting Council
- Garbage to Gardens Student Activity Guide
- Do the Rot Thing
- Every Tray Counts
- Don’t Waste It North Carolina
- Compost Worksheet Pack Composting with Kids Printable Pack
- Chapter 2 – Compost, Extension Master Gardener Handbook Intro Home and Backyard Composting
- Worms Can Recycle Your Garbage: Vermicomposting and how to make a worm compost bin
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.