Plan, Evaluate and Share
Whether it’s a new or a long standing garden, planning for growth helps envision not only the physical space but how the school food garden can serve the needs of the school and school community. Similarly, evaluation begins as gardens start.
Monitoring and evaluation informs the development and delivery of each school food garden program.Tracking outcomes and illuminating successes engages stakeholders and builds garden sustainability. Throughout the life of a garden it’s important to create opportunities to reflect on challenges, successes and opportunities.
Time for Reflection: Write reflection pieces on successes and challenges of the growing season, allowing students an opportunity to practice how to communicate information and ideas clearly and effectively.
Dig into Data: Have classes develop a series of questions about the garden. Explore how students define success in the garden. Is it number of students involved in planting, amount of produce grown? Explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics themes (and more!) through monitoring and evaluation of plant growth, garden size and development.
Story from the Field: Celebrating the Harvest
The harvest is a great time for celebration and reflection. We take pictures of what has grown throughout the season and note any veggies that may not have come up as planned. Grade four students and grade six mentors will work together on the harvest and preparation for a school wide harvest meal, that will be prepared by teachers and served by volunteers of all ages in mid-October. The school garden has been a real gift to and we look forward, with support, to maintaining it for many years to come. Hoping for the best in the fall, and through next year to do more pre-learning and research about zones, and start seedlings or shopping for seedlings with students. - Garden Lead