Growing food on school property in school gardens is a popular project in British Columbia. Teachers and students enjoy growing and eating fresh food together from the garden; a variety of foods can be grown, though specific crops will depend on the growing conditions of your region. Check out our Crop Planning Guide for more details.
School Garden Crop Planning Resources
Looking for support to help you plan your school garden? Farm to School BC has developed a series of crop planning resources specifically for school gardens that shifts traditional planting times to align with the school year, focusing on a spring and fall harvest while minimizing work in July and August.
Start small. Gain support from your school’s administration, PAC, and school district maintenance. The SD maintenance plays a huge role in how and where the garden is built, so work with your school’s administration to get them on board.
Purpose of the Garden
There are many ways to structure your garden, though an important thing to consider is the purpose of the garden: Which is true for your school?
Production Garden: We grow a lot of food in this garden to preserve and cook as a class, and learn food skills in a hands-on way.
- Lots of food produced
- Grow food to be preserved/cooked
- Summer maintenance required
- Field trips to farms, farmers’ markets, etc.
Outdoor Classroom: The garden is an alternative to the indoor classroom, where we grow some food to snack on, and learn many ideas in a hands-on way.
- Some food produced
- Grow food to snack on
- Summer maintenance is not required
- Field trips to natural areas
School gardens can look different at every school but usually contain some of the same components:
- Growing area (raised beds or in the ground)
- Water access
- Sitting area (benches or grass to sit on)
- Pathways between growing areas
- Tool storage (in a shed or in a nearby classroom)
- Fencing surrounding the garden (optional)
Garden Committee: We recommend putting together a Garden Committee at your school to involve other teachers, administration, school district maintenance, PAC, neighbouring community members, and community groups who work with school gardens. School gardens are about building community and long-term buy-in to be successful.
- Lesson Plan: Saving Garden Seeds
- For ideas for cooking with food from your school garden, check out the In the Kitchen page.
Farm to School BC Resources
- Program budget calculator
- School garden crop planning guide
- School garden summer maintenance guide
- Green Thumbs at School: SPEC Food Garden Lesson Book
- Starting a Schoolyard Market Garden
- School Year Gardens – A Toolkit to Grow Food from September to June
- School Garden Guide – Vancouver School Board
- Creating an Outdoor Classroom – LifeCycles
- West Coast Seeds – Regional Planting Charts
- Planning for Urban Pollinators
Planting for Pollinators