School garden programs positively impact the health, education and environment of kids. Garden To Table provides school garden management, standards-based curriculum, teacher professional development, and community support to engage all students in experiential, garden-based learning. Our vision is a future in which gardens are an integral part of every school community fostering connection to nature, health and wellness, academic engagement and achievement, and environmental stewardship. We serve 250 teachers and 5,500 students at 19 partner schools in Boulder County.
Research shows that outdoor classrooms refuel students for learning when they return to their regular classroom. Students who learn in outdoor settings become better thinkers. A majority of our teachers report that students are more engaged and better understand content when they learn in the garden. Our curriculum is standards-based and helps teachers to meet district level goals around teaching and learning.
Garden-based learning has positive impacts on the physical and mental health of children by increasing physical activity during the school day, teaching important nutrition concepts, and exposing them to new fruits and vegetables which they are then more likely to eat. Further, our teachers report that students experience an improved state of mind when learning in the garden.
Garden-based learning fosters a connection to nature, an understanding of important ecological concepts, and an ethic of environmental stewardship. This will prepare students to solve our greatest environmental challenges, such as climate change, pollution, ecosystem failures, and feeding a growing population without further degradation of soils and waterways.
Our Commitment to this Community
School gardens provide many benefits for health, education and the environment. After a year of being cooped up, students need more opportunities to step away from their computers, get outside, move their bodies, interact and connect with nature, and participate in hands-on, experiential learning. Because of this, our goal is to get every child out into their school garden this growing season. We are committed to supporting our teachers with flexibility and creativity.
In 2020, we used school gardens to grow and donate 8,500 pounds of fresh produce to local food banks. We created 7 new video lessons, in English and Spanish, to assist teachers and parents with home learning. We published our Home Garden Resource Guide to support home gardeners in growing the garden of their dreams. We created a How-to Guide to Container Gardening, available in Spanish and English.
In 2021, we are updating our curriculum to meet new academic standards, translating all new materials into Spanish, offering professional development for teachers who want to teach outdoors, maintaining 20 abundant school gardens and installing bilingual signage so that everyone knows they are welcome in their school garden.
It is our goal to get every child out into their school garden this year and to support their teachers in the process. Can you help? Join our Every Child in the Garden campaign with a donation today.
Environmental Education for a Changing World
To build resilience in a changing world, we need to educate our youth about the environment and teach them skills that will help them to live well and heal the earth. Garden to Table believes that garden education can do exactly this. Students with an understanding of ecological processes and an ethic of environmental stewardship will be able to solve problems and create solutions for a more regenerative world. Our school garden program provides the content and the context for impactful learning.
Health Education for At-Risk Youth
Children who grow their own food are more likely to eat it and to express a preference for fruits and vegetables. At a time in history when rates of new diagnosed cases of diabetes are on the rise for kids and teens, especially among minority groups, it is imperative that we teach all students the importance of healthy eating and active living. Equally important are the skills needed to grow their own food and the opportunity to develop a taste for fresh fruit and vegetables. Garden education has the ability to do exactly this and our standards-based curriculum is designed to engage children in this type of learning.
Teacher Support to meet District Goals
We are the only school garden support organization serving Boulder County. As academic standards change, teachers are asked to implement new teaching strategies and curriculum in their classrooms. Garden to Table provides a standards-based, hands-on curriculum for teachers to use in their school gardens. Our curriculum is designed to address the Next Generation Science Standards and the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards, and is being translated into Spanish to allow for better participation by an increasing Hispanic population. Each school has access to a private website with curriculum documents, scheduling tools and gardening resources.