homeLogo enroll facebook twitter instagram linkedin youtube
staff login
School Gardens
In This Section

School Gardens

School Gardens

School gardens are an meaningful way to provide experiential education about the environment, agriculture, nutrition. They can also tranform classroom curriculum into hands-on, interactive learning. 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. 


Free Seed Packets for MPS School Gardens

MPS Culinary & Wellness Services has free seed packets available for MPS school gardens! To request seeds, please fill out this form. Inventory is limited, so seeds will be distributed to schools on a "first come, first served" basis using the request form. 

Seeds packets include five types of seed: green beans, kohlrabi, butternut squash, radishes, and kale. Known as the Farm to School Fabulous Five (or "Fab Five")these crops grow well in our Minnesota climate, are regularly served in MPS cafeterias, and offer endless learning opportunities about nutrition, history, cooking, science, and more. Thanks to support from our USDA Farm to School grant, we are excited to be sowing seeds (pun intended) this spring to build stronger educational connections between cafeterias, classrooms, and gardens. Over the next year, MPS students will have opportunity to taste and learn about the Fab Five whether they are in their school garden, enjoying a school meal, or visiting our new Education Farm!
Questions about seed packets? Email Kate.Seybold@mpls.k12.mn.us

School Garden Safety during COVID-19

To ensure safety for all students and adults in gardens, schools must follow these requirements when accessing gardens:

  • Follow MDH and MPS guidance regarding hygiene, safe distancing, and PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • Maintain a sign-in sheet to track students, 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!  
  • Clean up garden space and sanitize any shared equipment after each work session. 
  • 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:

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. 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.


Loring Dowling Lyndale Nellie Stone Johnson Anwatin