Guide to Growing a School Farm

Farm to School BC: A Guide to Growing a School Farm

There are a variety of school farm programs and models operating to suit the demographics, geography, and institutional and community needs of their specific regions. Recent research and innovation on school farms demonstrate their potential to educate and empower young adults from diverse backgrounds as agents of change in the food system. This guide to growing school farms captures a variety of stories and perspectives from different school farm models to share with other school districts and broader school communities who may want to start their own farms and large-scale food-growing projects.


Download the Guide!


A Guide to Growing a School Farm Background

This Guide was informed by community-based research conducted in the Fall of 2021 and represents the school farms at that moment in time. The full thesis, “Understanding School Farms and Their Capacity to Build Food Literacy Education in British Columbia“, is available for download here.


This Guide to Growing School Farms highlights the growing popularity of school farms in BC as food systems and BC curriculum education models. Additionally, it provides practical insights for school district administrators, educators, farmers, and communities to consider when starting or scaling up a school farm program.

Within this document are promising practices, lessons learned, obstacles, and solutions offered by present school farm stakeholders. This guide will lead readers through essential components of a school farm, including:

  • Funding models
  • School farm roles
  • The physical structure of school farms
  • Program design
  • Course accreditation opportunities
  • Resources include case studies and additional tools for school food environments.


Sections Available for Download

  1. Full Guide including appendices
  2. Lessons Learned and Summary of School Farm Resources
  3. Appendix A: Case Examples of school farms
  4. Appendix B: Example curricula from a school farm
  5. Appendix C: Example of a school farm contract


Authors and Acknowledgements

A special thank you to Sammy Blair, Meryn Corkery, and Aaren Topley for project management and for writing this document.

Thank you to members of the Farm to School BC team (Marcus Lobb, Vicky Serafini, Tessa Stiven, and Roanne Whitticase) as well as Charlene Seward, Squamish Nation, KPU ISFS Indigenous Foodways Outreach Facilitator, and Darcy Smith, B.C. Land Matching Program Manager, Young Agrarians, for their review and support contextualizing the resource within their communities.

Thank you to Selenna Ho and Richard Han (PHABC) for their contributions.

Thank you to all the passionate educators, community partners, and administrators supporting school farms who participated in the anonymous case studies that contributed to the shared knowledge of how to develop and grow school farm programs.

We would like to thank the McConnell Foundation, Social Planning and Research Council of B.C., and the Food Security (Provincial Initiatives) Fund through the Victoria Foundation for providing funding for the creation of this document and the Province of British Columbia for supporting the Farm to School BC program.