Food gardens

Involving students in food gardens is a rewarding and educational experience with academic, social and environmental benefits.

Here you'll find

Teaching resources including:

  • information on units of work
  • lesson plans
  • support materials
  • curriculum connections.

Planning resources including helpful information on how to prepare and maintain a school food garden.

Teaching resources

Primary

Kitchen gardening for sustainability and wellbeing K-6 provides learning sequences for students to sustainably grow and produce healthy food at school.
Primary | DEC

How does your garden grow resource that encourages students to learn about the seasons, as well as a number of other factors (sunlight and soil temperature, pH level and type), influence what, when and where we plant our fruit and vegetables.
Stages 2 | DEC

Kitchen Garden Syllabus - A complete guide to delivering fun and rewarding kitchen and garden classes to primary school students.
Stages 2 - 3 | Kitchen Garden Foundation

Clever Kid Health & Play Program - Specific information on how to build a garden classroom is available.
Stages ES1-2 | Cross KLA | Information, Teaching resources, Student activities | Circles for Learning

Fresh for Kids - Includes a teachers and canteen managers section with teaching resources, class and canteen signs. The Markets also provide From Farm to Plate school presentations (aimed at Year 2 students, for schools close to Sydney).
Stages ES1-3 | Cross KLA | Information, Teaching resources, Student activities | Sydney Markets Limited

Biological Farmers of Australia Organic School Gardens Program 
Stages ES1-3 | Cross KLA | Information, Lesson plans, Student activities | Australian Organic

Cool Australia - Primary lesson plans
Stages 1 - 3 | Cool Australia

Building your school garden together
This unit helps teachers to develop a school garden, including  key considerations for getting started, suggested organisation of lessons and experiences, an example of a Garden Buddy program, group activities forms. 
Stages 1-3 | Cross KLA |  Primary Industries Education Foundation

Primary and secondary

Gardenate - Month by month planting guide for Australia.
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information | Gardenate

Running a garden project - practical advice including the three things needed to run a successful school garden: How to cultivate people, How to cultivate plants and where to go for help. 
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information | Agriculture and consumer protection

Getting kids to Garden - video archive screened on 16 April, 2011.
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information, Stimulus | ABC Gardening Australia

Create an Edible School Garden - a comprehensive guide to gardening aspects of school learnscapes including information on gardening methods, tools, maintenance, worm farms, plant selection and pests.
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information | Permaculture Noosa

Sustainable Gardening Australia - hints on seasonal planting plus gardening fact sheets
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information | Sustainable Gardening Australia

Gardening Australia factsheets plus videos The Language of Gardening (screened 11/08/2012) a secondary school in Adelaide where student learn English through gardening; The Vegie Guide - what to plant in the vegie patch.
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information | ABC Gardening Australia

When you garden, you grow - resources, video clips and hints on using the vegetable garden as an educational resource.
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information | National Gardening Association (United States)

Nutrition in Schools policy - guide on food choices offered through the kitchen garden program.
Teacher | Cross KLA| Information | NSW DEC

Healthy Kids: eat well, get active - provides information, resources and ideas on physical activity, healthy eating and nutritional guidelines for children and young people
Information | NSW Government
 

Student activities

The variety of resources listed below focusing on food gardens and are provided for teachers to incorporate into a class room program. They can be investigated by students independently or be used as part of a group program within the class.

Student activities

Upcycling in your garden! become a superhero sustainable gardener - upcycle by using a discarded product in a new and different way.

Our Farmers Our Future - read a collection of e-books created by students on farming and our environment. Collection includes a story from Euchareena Public School on creating their school garden.

Weigh up your lunch - Victorian government interactive game for students to rate the contents of their lunchbox.

Enviro Inspiro! Winner in the 2012 competition, taking out the second place,St George Girls High School's Not just another vegie patch

Video resources

Wheelie good green waste solutions - what to put in your green waste bin and what happens to it. (YouTube 4:37 minutes)

How to be a good parent to your worms - learn how to make a worm farm and how to be a good parent to hundreds of your own worms. (YouTube 8:16 minutes)

Fresh for kids - a program from the Sydney Markets Limited, click on Kids Corner to access games including The World Challenge and various other activities.

Planning resources

Involving students in food gardens is a rewarding and educational experience with academic, social and environmental benefits. Students in many schools across New South Wales are already learning from and enjoying their experiences creating the garden, growing produce and preparing it for the table.

Planning

Planning and preparation are key to a successful food garden. To ensure a strong link with the curriculum, it's important to program for food gardens. Food gardens are the perfect site for interdisciplinary studies, and can be easily linked with literacy, numeracy, science, art, society and environmental learning areas. The Department of Education and Communities have mapped syllabus outcomes from Early Stage 1 through to Stages 4 and 5.

Students and the school community can be involved in all aspects of creating a food garden from research, design, creation and growing fruit and vegetables. Many sustainability features can be included in food garden design and use, including particularly composting, worm farms and water recycling.

Promoting healthy eating runs parallel to involving students in food gardens. In 2017, the NSW Government adopted a revised NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy, that aims to support student health by providing access to healthy foods and drinks to make the healthy choice, the easy choice. The Strategy addresses school canteens across NSW to support healthy growth and development of children. For more information visit the Healthy Canteen Strategy and the Healthy Kids Association
 

Planning resources

Planning is also needed to ensure a successful and productive garden, the following resources may help you in the preparation of your garden.

  • Learning through landscapes - a site from the United Kingdom highlighting how to transform spaces, of particular interest is the Getting started section outlining a process for change.
  • Kidsgrow resources from the Nursery Garden Industry has information on themed gardens and practical hints on how to create them.
  • Ready, Set, Grow Program - read how local councils are helping schools plan the creation of a sustainable school fruit and vegetable garden.
  • Organic School Gardens Program -The Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) launched this free online education program to all Australian primary schools. Topics include: how plants grow; photosynthesis; building healthy soils; composting and worm farming; sowing seeds; green manures; soil pH; crop rotation; organic methods of pest control and seed saving.
  • Compost and Worm Tutorial an online step-by-step guide to composting and wormfarming. This is part of the Compost Revolution a community initiative in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
  • The Diggers Garden Club website is full of useful information, helpful hints and has a number of videos including Sowing Seeds, Growing beans and Tomato planting.
  • Sydney Water Plant Selector is the tool you need to help in selecting the right vegetable or herb to grow in your local environment. By answering a few simple questions it will give you a list of plants (including vegetables and herbs) that are suitable to your needs. This is specifically tailored for schools in the Sydney Water region (north as far as Wisemans Ferry, south as far as Mittagong).
  • Vegetable Gardening for Dummies - a recently published visual guide helpful for novices and those looking to get started in gardening.
  • Earth Easy - a guide for gardening with children, including tips on what to plant.
  • Eco schools: gardens - case studies and curriculum links to assist with planning your school garden project.

If you are planning to keep chickens or other livestock as part of your food garden program you will need to check the compliance guidelines set out on the Animals in Schools website.

Around our schools

Schools around NSW are creating school food gardens, producing great results, not only for the table but also in the achievement of learning outcomes. We would like to highlight schools who have provided this great learning experience for their students. Contact us if your school has a food garden and you would like to share your experiences.

Drake Public School, have just established their kitchen as part of the Stephanie Alexander School Kitchen Garden program. Watch the development unfolding!

Narrabeen Lakes Public School - winners of the Education Environment Award at the 2011 Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority Regional Awards.

Bungwahl Public School joined the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program, see how well they are doing!

Watch the students from Cringila Public School talk about their school kitchen garden.

Case studies from the Eco schools program : Forster, Winmalee, Kororo & Chatswood Intensive English school. 

Research

Research into the effectiveness of using a food garden as a learning tool:

Grants

Coles Junior Landcare Garden Grants

Schools and youth groups can apply for grants of up to $1,000 to create gardens in their school or community such as bush tucker gardens, waterwise gardens or vegie gardens. Open to schools, kindergartens, day care centres and youth groups (i.e. scouts, out of school care). Further details are available on the Junior Landcare website.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program

All Australian primary schools can join the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden National Program, which provides a structured edible garden and food education model. The Program encourages schools to start small, using the facilities and resources they have at hand. The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation provides comprehensive training and access to resources to ensure school staff are equipped with everything needed to deliver the Program in their school.

How to start:

Many NSW schools already run the Program and use it to meet an array of school objectives. See the list of hundreds of Kitchen Garden Schools across Australia.

Eco Schools program

Eco-schools grant program A grants program delivered by the Office of Environment & Heritage for up to $3,500 for schools to provide hands-on environmental education with strong student participation. You may want to consider the Sustainability Action Process when designing and seeking funding for your sustainability project.