Learn in the Garden
School food gardens positively contribute to academic outcomes by enabling teachers to offer experiential learning opportunities that align with emerging teaching approaches across all grades. Participation in experiential learning activities, such as gardens, has been shown to enhance student engagement and positively impact behaviour and academic performance. Gardens also offer an environment where students’ food choices and eating habits are positively influenced through role modelling, informal education opportunities and healthy food selections.
Link and Integrate:
Connecting the garden to curriculum not only allows for unique and memorable lessons, but it also encourages students to become stewards of the garden by helping plan, plant, maintain, and sustain it.
• SFG lessons can be delivered across all subjects and grades,including but not limited to: math, science, English, social studies, health, economics, environmental studies, treaty education, family studies, Mi’kmaq studies, cultural studies, physical education, technology, and art.
School food gardens provide a natural opportunity to engage students in important discussions of food literacy by having them in the planning, growing, harvesting and preparation of fresh produce.
• School food gardens offer opportunities to start conversations about food systems, food production and the broader impact of our food choices.
• School food gardens may supply food from the garden to a breakfast program, cafeteria, cooking club, a community event or other healthy eating initiatives, bringing theory into practice.
Engaging students in the school food garden fosters a sense of leadership and pride—from seed to harvest.
• Students are provided opportunities to lead, collaborate, innovate, and to develop skills that will facilitate their well-being.
Gardens have the potential to be the heart of learning in a school, providing endless opportunities for curriculum connections.
Visual Arts: Have students work individually and with others in the creative art process. Experiment with different mediums to create garden themed artwork. Students can draw and photograph plants, film a short garden documentary (see our website for garden video inspiration) or paint garden signs on paper, wood and rocks.
Collect & Analyze: Gardens are the perfect setting for scientific exploration. Have students count vegetables or blossoms, measure plant growth, calculate area to determine harvest yields and test soil pH and mineral levels. School food gardens allow for opportunities to observe, gather, record and analyze information that can be applied to several key curriculum outcomes.
Story from the Field: Food Literacy in Action
Our school garden allows the students to participate in hands-on learning experiences which allow them to see the garden to table connection. Food that is grown in the garden is harvested and taken into our classroom where we can taste test and/or cook with different fruits and vegetables. Students are able to peel, chop, mix, stir, cook and bake as they try different recipes. They are all encouraged to try “3 little nibbles” of the food item and oftentimes, students will ask for additional servings! The best part is when parents write and tell me that their child asked to go to the grocery store to buy certain items so that they could make something we had cooked in class. - Elementary School Teacher
Resources for Learn in the Garden