Strengthen the School Community
School Food Gardens are collaborative by nature and bring communities together. School food gardens provide ideal opportunities for community development and engagement in an experiential learning environment. Gardens can support cross-aged buddies programs and function as intergenerational bridges, creating important opportunities for older adults and children to socialize and transfer ideas from one generation to the next. School food gardens provide a perfect opportunity to apply this good practice to strengthen school communities, enhance food literacy across generations and cultures, and celebrate the contributions of all.
Develop Collaborative Partnerships:
Partnering within the school and broader school community is important for building a solid funding and volunteer base for SFGs. Diverse partnerships increase engagement to ensure the long-term sustainability of the garden.
• Create partnerships for the program in the early stages of planning by drawing on the unique assets of the school and surrounding school community.
Volunteers are integral to every SFG. SFGs encourage and support volunteerism with clear ways to get involved. Effective recruitment, orientation and recognition of volunteers can increase retention and ensure program sustainability.
•School food gardens recognize contributions made by volunteers and supporters in the school community through certificates of appreciation, thank you letters and school events.
• Volunteers are kept informed in appropriate and meaningful ways.
Whether seeds, soil or building materials, the benefits of buying local and engaging local expertise extends beyond the garden.
• School food gardens choose to support local people and products wherever possible to strengthen local economies.
Valuing Volunteers: Explore the ideas of volunteerism and community with the class. Students can engage in a range of creative and purposeful writing activities, such as creating invitations and recruitment letters, writing volunteer role descriptions and penning thank you cards or poems to the community members that give their time to helping the garden grow.
Story from the Field: Growing Together
When we were finished doing the work and the kids were taking a break on the grass, we got a visit from a lady who lives across the street from the school. She came over with cherries and sliced watermelon for the kids. It was so wonderful, we sat on the grass and chatted, and had an impromptu picnic! She was a member of the local garden club and said she would keep and eye on the garden for us over the summer. We had left over manure and told her that we would leave it there for any of the members of her garden club to help themselves! - Community Volunteer
Resources for Strengthen the School Community