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How to Start a School Garden In Your Town

September 27, 2010

By Pat Tanner

If you’ve been wishing that your child’s school had an edible garden like those popping up all over the country but didn’t know how to get one going—or even if it could work in your school system—expert advice is on the way.

The New Jersey Farm to School Network is organizing a series of school garden workshops in six cities across the state this fall. Each one is open to the public and will be led by individuals and groups that have been successful in bringing garden education into the curriculum and lunchroom in their school system. Each one-time session lasting two to three hours includes a tour the on-site school garden and discussions (with Q&A) that focus on the particular set of variables any project must deal with. These include differences among urban, suburban, rural settings; land use issues; funding strategies; and resources for sustaining a school garden.

Workshops are being scheduled in Atlantic City, Metuchen, Orange, Paterson, Princeton, and Trenton. Cost is $25 per person. For more information, follow the link for “Growing Gardens, Feeding Minds” at njfarmtoschool.org.

As of this posting, dates for the two sessions below have been set, and the organizers expect to add the remaining dates and times shortly.

Princeton: On Saturday, October 9, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, Dorothy Mullen will lead a workshop at the Riverside School. Among the topics she’ll cover are the different types of school gardens, including herb, vegetable, butterfly, berry patches, math, tea, and compost, as well as what can be done on different budgets.

Metuchen: On Wednesday, October 13, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., representatives from the Highland Park school garden project and Rutgers Garden will be at Metuchen High School to talk about how schools in Highland Park and Metuchen took different but equally successful paths to making school gardens happen.

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