Youth Grow


Youth Grow provides hands-on education in school gardens to help all children feel accepted and empowered to make healthy choices, become stewards of the environment, share their culture and increase community resiliency.

Garden Education Networks

Our Youth Grow Manager coordinates the Portland Farm and Garden Educators Network – a group dedicated to farm and garden education in the community.  We meet once a season to update, share resources and network, and have a list serve.  Check out the Portland Farm and Garden Educators Network webpage.

Growing Gardens is also on the steering committee of the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden NetworkSign up on their state-wide list serve here.

Regional School Garden Assessment

In 2016, Growing Gardens completed a regional survey of 144 schools in the Portland area to understand the breadth of school gardens, how they are used and by who. Through an online survey and follow up site visits, the study documents how school garden programs are organized, funded and sustained. It includes recommendations for school districts, administrators, teachers, volunteers and non-profits, as well as profiles of 64 school gardens. Download the full School Garden Assessment.

School Garden Grants maintains this page of national Grant Opportunities. In addition, by signing up on the listserves of the regional networks listed above, you will receive notices of new grant opportunities. If you are in the Multnomah County, east of the river, you should also review the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District SPACE grants.

Resources for Starting and Running a School Garden

The links below are for anyone considering starting a school garden or for anyone who would like to use and/or maintain an existing garden.

2017 Oregon School Garden Resource Guide

School Garden Wizard was created for America’s K-12 school community through a partnership between the United States Botanic Garden and Chicago Botanic Garden. This site provides information and resources to start and sustain a school garden.

National Gardening Association Kids Gardening

This website has information regarding funding school garden projects, activity ideas, gardening advice. It also has a very in depth store for buying books, materials and resources to support kids gardening.

Life Lab

This website has useful information on sustaining a school garden and has other helpful information including their Life Lab curriculum books.

Education Outside Resources for School Garden Programs

This website has information for schools and educators from starting to sustaining school garden programs.

California and Arizona School Garden Networks

This website has a link to “Gardens for Learning – Creating and Sustaining your School Garden” manual and all chapters are down loadable. There is a step-by-step section for starting and maintaining a school garden program as well as a good curriculum section with 12 downloadable lesson plans.

Summer in the School Garden 

A resource created by Pritha Golden and Karin Pfeiffer-Hoyt for working with volunteers to maintain your school garden over the summer.

Garden signs: Print in color, laminate and attach to stakes in the garden. These are part of the Summer in the School Garden Resource English and Spanish!
Harvest Signs: Harvesting in the GardenRed Light (Not ready to harvest), Yellow Light (Harvest some), Green Light (Ready to harvest)
Compost Signs: CompostGreen MaterialsBrown MaterialsWeeds Go Here, No Weeds Here
Other Signs: RecyclingTrashGarden FarewellCommon WeedsWater Shut-Off Reminder

Oregon School Garden Projects

2007 Oregon School Garden Survey

Abernethy Garden of Wonders

Atkinson Elementary School Garden

Harrison Park School Garden Project

The School Garden Project of Lane County

Rogue Valley Farm to School

School Garden Curricula

Growing Gardens Youth Grow Lesson Plan Manual

This is the lesson manual Youth Grow uses to teach after-school garden education program.  In it, you will find good tips on outdoor classroom management techniques, harvesting and food safety, evaluation, thematic lessons, activities and an extensive resource list.

Growing Healthy Kids

This curriculum developed by Oregon State University for use in its SNAP-Ed program. It is oriented to grades 2-3.

Garden Based Learning Curriculum Preschool through 5th Grade – Berkeley USD

This curriculum developed by the Berkeley Unified School District and Edible Schoolyard builds upon many years of educating students in the garden and scales up content across grades and lessons for instructional scaffolding. It is designed as an interactive teaching tool to be co-taught with classroom teachers and garden instructors as leads.

Dig In!

Developed by the USDA, this curriculum includes ten inquiry-based lessons that engage 5th and 6th graders in growing, harvesting, tasting, and learning about fruits and vegetables. Free printed versions available from the Dig In! website.

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation  

Oregon specific resources for lesson plans and curricula that are subdivided by lesson title, agricultural topic, grade level, subject matter, lessons in Spanish, lessons with kits, and curriculum matrix.

Junior Master Gardeners

Two manuals are available, 1 for teachers/leaders, 1 for students. Activities and information.
Teaching Peace Through Gardening by Ane Peterson (Seattle Tilth)
Calls for an expanded role of organic gardening in environmental education. Describes a successful program called Teaching Peace through Gardening at the Seattle Tilth Children’s Garden. This program advocates establishing an environment that promotes a sense of ownership, safety, community, and nurturing. (AIM)

Foodspan – Teaching the Food System from Farm to Fork (Johns Hopkins University)

Lesson plans for teaching students how food goes from the source to our plates. Includes 3 units with 17 individual lessons and a final project, as well as lesson plans, handouts, and slides.

The Growing Classroom – Garden and Nutrition Activity Guide

This Life Lab book has step-by-step instructions for setting up a garden-based science program and outdoor classroom activities. Topics include working together in the garden, growing, nutrients, garden ecology, climate, nutrition, gardening tips, and food choices. The new edition includes updated content as well as an expanded gardening tips section. 496 pages.

Center for Ecoliteracy

Website with various links to resources, articles, videos, and other topics of interest for educators and school garden volunteers.

Nourish: Food + Community

Free curriculum covering food literacy that includes a viewing guide, seven learning activities, a glossary, and additional suggested resources.


Farm Field Trips

These Portland area farms offer educational tours and/or on-site activities geared for youth. These programs are willing to coordinate with teachers, schools and other groups who would like to have their students visit a local farm.

Zenger Farm – located in SE Portland in the Lents neighborhood
Sauvie Island Center – located north of Portland on Sauvie Island
Tryon Life Community Farm – located in SW Portland

School Garden Research

Cornell Unviversity has compiled a list of research studies that support garden based education.

Farm to School

Farm to School programs aim to connect schools with local farms with the objectives of serving healthy food, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities and supporting local farms and agriculture.

Ecotrust Farm to School

National Farm to School

Oregon State University Extension’s Gardening Encyclopedia

Learning Gardens Laboratory 

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