Instructors Guides for Teaching Organic Gardening

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<ul><li><p>Integrating School Gardens into School Wellness Policy </p><p>Introduction </p><p>As our society becomes more aware of and concerned about the health of children, </p><p>communities are turning to schools for solutions. Schools are one of the most powerful </p><p>influences in the lives of students, and can significantly help to promote healthy habits </p><p>and behavior in children. Schools with a healthy nutrition environment foster improved </p><p>student health. </p><p>School gardens are one way to promote a healthy nutrition environment. Research shows </p><p>that children who plant and harvest their own fruit and vegetables are more likely to eat </p><p>them. School gardens are outdoor laboratories, and can be applied to curriculum in </p><p>natural sciences, mathematics, languages and fine arts. Freshly harvested garden produce </p><p>can contribute to student nutrition, especially when integrated into school meals and </p><p>snacks. Finally, gardening requires physical activity, contributing to overall student </p><p>fitness. </p><p>The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 established a new requirement </p><p>that all school districts with a federally-funded school meal program develop and </p><p>implement wellness policies that address nutrition and physical activity. School gardens </p><p>serve a vital role in meeting the requirements of this policy while increasing the overall </p><p>health of the communities they reside in. </p><p>This document provides a starting point for integrating school gardens into school </p><p>wellness policy. Garden language may be embedded within current policy, or a separate </p><p>section dedicated to specifically to garden activities may be added to wellness policy. </p></li><li><p>School wellness policy must establish: - Goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school- based activities </p><p>that are designed to promote student wellness in a manner that the local educational </p><p>agency determines is appropriate </p><p>- Nutrition guidelines selected by the local educational agency for all foods available on each school campus under the local educational agency during the school day </p><p>with the objectives of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity </p><p>Linking School Gardens to Wellness Policy </p><p>School gardens are relevant to each of these policy requirements. One way of </p><p>incorporating gardens into policy is by inserting garden language into each of the </p><p>categories nutrition education goals, physical activity goals and nutrition guidelines. </p><p>Here are some ways that school gardens are relevant to each policy category: </p><p>Nutrition/ Health Education </p><p> Garden instruction helps children to learn skills that they can apply to their personal behavior. </p><p> It has been shown that experiential education helps children to retain what they learn. </p><p> Gardens can incorporate nutrition education into other subjects such as math, science, and language and arts. </p><p> Structured garden-based nutrition education has been shown to increase students consumption of fresh produce. </p><p>Physical Activity </p><p> On average, 30 minutes of gardening burns 50 calories. </p><p> Gardens provide physical activity opportunities for students and teachers without disrupting instruction. </p><p> Gardens have been shown to reduce stress in teachers and students. </p><p>Nutrition/ Food Services </p><p> Snack Program fruits like berries, carrots and melons from the garden make great afternoon snacks. </p><p> Unique a la carte items smoothies, fresh veggies and dip, fruit salad, etc. </p><p> Salad Bar use leafy greens or add-ons (cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, etc) from the garden. </p><p> Cafeteria Meal Plan incorporate garden produce into meal planning as much as possible. </p><p> Each of the above options allow you to: o Introduce students to new fruit and vegetables. o Provide students with fresh, locally grown, in-season produce. o Potentially save funds by using garden produce on a large scale. </p></li><li><p>Alternatively, wellness policy can be written such that school gardening stands as its own </p><p>unique category within the document. The following is an example of garden language </p><p>which can be inserted into school wellness policy: </p><p>School Gardens </p><p>1. The school district will support the use of school property to promote nutrition, physical activity, and curricular and co-curricular activities </p><p>through school gardens. The school district will support the sustainability </p><p>of school gardens through activities including, but not limited to, </p><p>fundraising, solicitation of community donations, use of existing resources, </p><p>and allocation of school district funds. </p><p>2. School gardens ensure students have the opportunity to experience planting, harvesting, preparing, serving, and tasting self-grown food that </p><p>reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the student population. The </p><p>school district supports the incorporation of school gardens into the </p><p>standards-based curriculum as a hands-on, interdisciplinary teaching tool </p><p>to influence student food choices and lifelong eating habits. </p><p>3. The superintendent has the authority to designate school property as a school garden and negotiate the terms of the agreements and licenses </p><p>needed to create and maintain a school garden. The superintendent will </p><p>ensure that the development of a school garden includes necessary </p><p>coordination with appropriate representatives of the school buildings and </p><p>grounds department. </p><p>4. The superintendent, with the assistance of the School Wellness Committee, will develop guidelines for school gardens. These superintendent </p><p>guidelines will include: </p><p>a. Explanation of how the school garden program fits the standards-based curriculum and curriculum guidelines of the school district; </p><p>b. How the costs of the school garden, including materials, supplies, water, and personnel, will be funded; </p><p>c. How the school garden will be maintained during and outside of the school year, including identification of school staff who will </p><p>supervise and maintain the garden; and </p><p>d. How the school garden will be used and how the harvest of the garden will be distributed. </p><p>5. The superintendent or designee will review existing school board policy and recommend updates to any other school board policies to incorporate </p><p>the goals and objectives of school gardens, including school grounds, </p><p>curriculum and community use policies. </p><p> (Source: </p></li><li><p>A La Carte </p><p>Excerpts demonstrating exemplary language of intended garden usage included in various </p><p>school wellness policies: </p><p> Encourage school sites to develop organic school gardens, and use fruit and vegetables grown at the school in daily food service, thus providing students the </p><p>opportunity to plant, harvest, prepare, cook and eat food they have grown. </p><p> Each school shall establish a school garden, to be used as an outdoor classroom for nutrition, science, and other lessons. </p><p> Whenever possible foods will be coordinated so that menus will align with production in school gardens [and] reflect seasonality and local agriculture. </p><p> District will integrate experiences in cafeterias with the nutrition education curriculum in the gardens and classrooms by: students growing and harvesting </p><p>garden produce for cafeterias. </p><p> Staff shall integrate experiential education activities such as gardening, cooking demonstrations, farm and farmers market tours into existing curricula </p><p>at all grade levels. </p><p> The district recognizes that school gardens can offer physical activity opportunities, as well as agricultural education, by engaging students in activities </p><p>such as planting, harvesting, and weeding. Teachers and students are encouraged </p><p>to take advantage of these physical activity opportunities during the school day as </p><p>well as through after-school activities. </p><p>Websites with further tips and examples: </p><p>School District Sample Policy for Promoting School Gardens: </p><p>Berkeley Unified School District Wellness Policy: </p><p></p><p>Policy.pdf </p><p> Resources: </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p></li></ul>