Our “Garden for Every School” vision requires a multi-faceted approach that provides several types of support for teachers, schools and gardens. The four core pieces of our strategy include: District support, garden expertise (a FoodCorps service member), school grants, and a garden educator network.
We’ll break down each of these strategies in more detail, beginning with the garden educator network!
STRATEGY #1: Build a Network of Trained Educators
“With the knowledge, resources, and encouragement of the network, we are working to make use of our garden a more integrated part of the school day.” – Garden Educator Network Participant
Successful school gardens require well-informed teachers and supporters that can learn from and support each other’s successes and challenges. We launched the Central Oregon Garden Educators Network last fall with a teacher training, and have organized several other networking events so far in 2017. We want to expand and sustain our Network to provide regular training for garden educators; regular networking events for peer-to-peer learning, problem-solving, and resource sharing; and garden tours.
Currently, the Network is comprised of approximately 40 garden educators from private and public schools in four Central Oregon communities. The Network is for anyone in Central Oregon – teachers, parents, nutrition staff, volunteers, informal educators – who wishes to incorporate garden-based learning into their work with youth. Our network is even recognized by the State of Oregon Department of Education as a School Garden Regional Hub!
We kicked off the Network in October 2016 with a two-day training with Life Lab. We were so excited to have over 20 educators attend this training event! Although relatively new, the Network has already proven its value to several communities and educators.
We met at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in February – and left feeling very inspired that their students enjoy weekly visits to the school garden, even throughout the winter season. In April, we visited Redmond for a school garden tour, where 14 educators offered assistance to a teacher at MA Lynch Elementary School. (They’ve since built two garden beds on site!) We also toured Edwin Brown Education Center and John Tuck Elementary School gardens. Most recently, we organized a Sisters farm and garden tour, where 12 educators and community members showed up to hear about the connection between Seed to Table Farm and the Sisters school district. We toured the Seed to Table farm, the state-of-the-art greenhouse at Sisters High School, and toured/helped out at Sisters Elementary School greenhouse and garden.
We are excited to expand this Network, which we know will ultimately empower more educators and community members to facilitate garden-based education!
Read more about our whole strategy here.
Make your donation to our “Garden For Every School” campaign here.