Youth Grow

School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training

We are excited to offer our School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training program to share best practices for building, using and maintaining school and youth food gardening programs. By the end of this training, you will have knowledge, skills and resources to implement and maintain an edible school garden project built on a foundation of broad community involvement and support. As a trained certified Garden Coordinator, you will be equipped to support long-lasting edible school/youth garden projects within the region and expand the capacity of the community to provide food garden-based education to children. This training has a focus on elementary school/youth programs, but can be adapted by those who work with middle or high school aged students. This training is geared for both those who have experience with school/youth gardens and those who are new to the field. 

Course Description:

The School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training is now online and open for registration!  Each week there is online video, audio and print materials that you can watch at any time, followed by an optional live discussion on Google Meet each week.  The course includes demo lessons, an action plan template and tons of resources to help you start or further develop a school garden. You will be encouraged to share your activities with other participants during the discussion section and via a discussion board. Please estimate 1-2 hours of coursework per week plus 1 hour for the discussion group.

Each week the course focuses on a different element of creating, using and sustaining school gardens:
  • Introduction & Action Planning: Connect to a larger community of like-minded school garden enthusiasts, learn about the national movement and tap into the deeper mission of why you want to develop a school garden program. Presentations include the research-based Benefits of Farm to School and School Gardens, School Gardens in Oregon and an introduction to creating your own School Garden Action Plan.
  • Community Engagement: Understand the importance of broad community engagement and gain strategies to increase involvement of diverse stakeholders in the school gardens. Three school garden coordinators share their real life successes and challenges. Participants learn some tips on volunteer management and how to run a successful school garden volunteer workparty.
  • Garden Design & Maintenance: Gain the tools to create a well thought out garden design, maintenance plan and planting plan that considers key elements of educational gardens. We take you on virtual tours of three school gardens to understand how the infrastructure influences the functions of the garden. We discuss school garden maintenance and how to plant a garden that works with the school calendar.
  • Teaching & Curriculum: Be inspired to use the garden for teaching multiple subjects, as well as gain confidence in teaching a group of youth in the garden. Video demonstrations highlight outdoor classroom management strategies and adapting gardening techniques for youth. Then, you will be guided through selecting one of the existing curricula to use at your school.
  • Harvesting & Tasting: Understand how produce can be used in cafeterias and how to engage students in food-based activities. Video demonstrations show how to harvest and cook with students. The Farm to School Program Analyst from Oregon Department of Education reviews food safety guidance and Nutrition Services staff share how best to coordinate to integrate garden produce into the cafeteria.
  • Funding & Making Programs Last: Gain insights into the elements of long-term program sustainability and understand strategies to secure the financial resources to achieve long-lasting school garden programs.

The Growing Gardens team of Educators and School Garden Coordinators pooled their expertise and brought in guest speakers from Oregon State University, Oregon Department of Education, Portland Public Schools, Grow Portland, and FoodCorps to bring you a dynamic interactive course. The course is hosted by Oregon State University’s department of Professional and Community Education (PACE). At this time, the course does not provide graduate credits, however educators can use the course certificate for 12 Professional Development Units.


The next course opens April 3rd. The format is for participants to go through the asynchronous materials (videos, slides, documents) prior to the optional weekly discussion groups. The unrecorded GoogleMeet discussion groups are scheduled for each Thursday evening, 5pm-6pm (Pacific) for 6 weeks:

April 6th – Introduction & Action Planning

April 13th – Community Engagement

April 20th – Garden Design & Maintenance

April 27th – Teaching Youth in the Garden

May 4th – Harvesting & Tasting

May 11th – Funding & Making Programs Last

If you would like to receive announcements of future trainings please add your name to this list. 


We know that the school garden movement is stronger when we have a diversity of identities, backgrounds, and perspectives collaborating together towards shared goals. If this training is financially inaccessible to you, please fill out this simple online scholarship application by February 26th, 2022. Approximately 1 month before each training session we will select recipients for a scholarship that will cover $275 of the $300 tuition. Ten participant spots will be reserved for scholarship awardees. If you are not selected for a scholarship, your application will roll over to be included in the pool of scholarship applications for 1 year.

What people are saying:

“This training reinforced to me that the school garden can be used as a tool for multiple and interdisciplinary functions (academics, food system, social & ecojustice) not one is more important than the other but can be woven together to become an extremely inclusive and dynamic learning/living space.” – 2018 SGCCT Participant

“It was both inspirational (speakers and participants) and practical.” – 2018 SGCCT Participant

“Everyone was so professional yet personable. Definitely leaders and trail blazers in the movement.” – 2018 SGCCT Participant

“[The most valuable parts were] meeting professionals doing the same work at schools, getting new ideas for training facilitation, seeing awesome and diverse garden sites and hearing from experts in the community.” – 2018 SGCCT Participant

“All of it was extremely valuable — can’t wait to get back to implement all the awesome information, ideas, etc.” – 2018 SGCCT Participant

If you have questions, contact Youth Grow Program Director, Anna Garwood (

Translate »
Scroll to Top