Sustaining School Community Gardens

10 Best Practices for Sustaining School Community Gardens
© 2011 Friends of Burlington Gardens

Best Practice # 1: Location, Location, Location
The most sustainable school community gardens occupy a highly visible site on or adjacent to school grounds.
The site should be well drained with plenty of sunlight, access to water, and minimal soil compaction.

Best Practice # 2:  Permanence
The first sign of permanence is a colorful and sturdy sign that represents the garden. A sturdy fence that is 4 feet
or higher will also help to define the site. Permanence includes clear rules posted at the site; the ability to raise
and account for funds; and information about the garden included in the school newsletter and school web site.

Best Practice # 3:  Organic Gardening
Organic gardening and plant health go hand in hand. Organic gardeners resolve not to use synthetic pesticides,
herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. Soil fertility increases through composting, mulching, and cover cropping.

Best Practice # 4:  Crop diversity
Plant a variety of vegetables for fresh food, and flowers to provide color and nectar sources for pollinators.

Best Practice # 5:  Curriculum Integration
Integrate hands-on garden-based education activities with Farm to School, Ag in the Classroom, and nutrition
programs that encourage healthy diets and consumption of locally grown foods.

Best Practice # 6:  Organization
A skilled coordinator and steering committee, effective communications, shared planning and decision making,
and youth engagement are essential to a sustainable school community garden.

Best Practice # 7:  Administrative and school board support  
Strive to ensure that the garden is an integral part of the school and community, and consistent with district goals.

Best Practice # 8:  Commitment  
Work for continuous improvement in your school community garden and educational program year after year.

Best Practice # 9:  Community access
Involve the community in your garden, especially during the summer. Consider having individual garden beds or
plots for community members, and weekly summer meeting times when activities take place at the garden.

Best Practice # 10:  Celebration and acknowledgment
Thank sponsors, volunteers, and donors, and share surplus produce and flowers with friends, neighbors, and
people in need. Build social capital through garden potlucks and harvest celebrations. Make garden work fun!

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