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School Gardens

School Gardens

As a hands-on resource for learning about the environment, agriculture, and nutrition, school gardens are a great tool for making classroom lessons experiential, tangible, and interactive. Minneapolis Public Schools is home to over thirty school gardens, and that number grows every year! These gardens provide opportunities for students to be active participants in the local food system, grow their knowledge and skills, and build classroom community. 


Each garden is tailored to a school’s needs - meaning all of the gardens are one-of-a-kind! Whether they are used for lessons outside the classroom, for growing food to sell to the cafeteria, or both, school gardens are a tool for students, staff, and the school’s broader community. To learn more about the program or to start a garden at your school, send us an email.

School Garden Access During COVID-19 School Closure

During COVID-19 school closure, access to outdoor MPS school gardens is permitted. You must follow these requirements when accessing your school's garden:

  • Follow MDH guidance regarding hygiene and safe distancing. Staff and volunteers are responsible for their own PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • Clean up garden space after each work session. Please note that NO interior building access is permitted.
  • Maintain a sign-in sheet to track staff and volunteers in garden. Here is a sample sign-in sheet
  • Have handwash station(s) set-up on site when staff and volunteers are in garden.  University of Minnesota Extension has some great tips for how to easily and affordably put together a handwash station, it doesn’t need to be fancy!  
  • Stay home if you are sick. Symptoms include: fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. 

For additional guidelines and recommendations for safe garden operations, please see:

NEW Webinar! Resilience Gardening At-Home: How to Prepare for the Garden Season amid COVID-19
Spark-Y Youth Action Labs and MPS Culinary & Wellness Services hosted a free school garden webinar on April 16. During this webinar, Spark-Y offered guidance on how to manage school gardens amid COVID-19,  showed how to prepare at home for the upcoming garden season, and shared a few garden-related activities and resources for distancing learning. Click here for a recording of the webinar and an accompanying list of online, at-home STEM resources. 

School Garden Resources

Starting a school garden has endless benefits - from providing hands-on learning activities, to increasing food literacy, to growing fresh food for your lunchroom - but it can be difficult to know where to start. Explore the resources, links, and guides below in order to learn about the steps to garden with your school.

MPS Garden Guide
This garden guide outlines the application process for establishing a MPS school garden. It includes garden planning tips, educational resources, garden safety, fundraising ideas, and ideas for increasing participation in school gardens.

Creating and Growing Edible Schoolyards: A How to Manual for School Professionals
A comprehensive manual from the Minnesota Department of Health for starting and sustaining school gardens in Minnesota, including garden planning worksheets and classroom activity ideas. 

 

MN School Gardening: A Guide to Gardening and Plant Science
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom developed a comprehensive gardening guide with lesson plans that correspond to Minnesota state standards. 

 

Getting Started: A Guide for Starting School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms
the Center for Ecoliteracy's guide for selecting a site, garden design, ideas for curriculum engagement, and strategies for building community support around school gardens. 

 

School Garden Checklist
A basic checklist from Let’s Move for getting your school garden started, with considerations ranging from soil health to garden design. 

 

School Garden Design Webinar
This webinar from LifeLab goes over smart design tips for your school garden, including strategies for how to keep your garden easy to manage while using it for a variety of classroom lessons.

 

 

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