Garden-Based Learning

Experience-based learning in a garden teaches children memorable lessons about fruits and vegetables. Children can plant, tend, harvest, and taste fresh produce that may be unfamiliar to them.

Let’s Get Growing
Garden-based learning also connects kids back to Texas agriculture and introduces them to new foods. Research has shown that when children are involved in the planting and growing process they are more willing to taste these foods. 

Let’s Get Growing is a four-part resource to help you plan, grow, harvest and connect to develop a sustainable garden program. 

  • PLAN supports sustainability and longevity for educational gardens. 
  • GROW uses current industry research to ensure child and adult safety in the garden. 
  • HARVEST promotes educators and garden coordinators working together to ensure the safe production of fruits and vegetables. 
  • CONNECT helps develop communication plans to ensure families and community members are aware of educational garden opportunities. Click on the button below for more details.



Resources from USDA  Minimize 
School Garden Frequently Asked Questions, memo SP 32-2009, provides guidance on how school garden and cafeteria programs can partner to create a campus or district garden program.

Farm to School and School Garden Expenses, memo SP 06-2015, provides guidance about the use of funds from the nonprofit school food service account to cover expenditures related to farm to school activities and school gardens.

School Garden Fact Sheet, this resource provides an overview of how school gardens support the development of healthy habits in cafeterias, classrooms and communities.

Other Resources  Minimize 
Garden Based Learning
Discover the benefits of garden based learning in this easy-to-read resource created by TDA. See how garden based learning can be utilized to strengthen learning for all ages and subjects.

Eat Smart… it’s in the Garden
This resource, developed by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, helps explain all aspects of a school garden, including planning, suggestions for getting the community and administration’s buy-in, incorporating garden-based learning into curriculum an incorporating garden harvest into cafeteria meals.

Aggie Horticulture Website
This website offers information and resources for garden managers, including planning and development tools and an Easy Gardening Series with information specific to fruit and vegetable varieties that grow well in Texas climates.

Food Safety Tips for School Gardens
If you are interested in using school garden produce in cafeteria meals or student taste testing activities, please review this reference guide developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) in partnership with USDA. The guide outlines practices that will help program operators enhance the safety of fruits and vegetables grown in a school garden.

REAL School Gardens
This organization helps elementary schools create and sustain school gardens, by encouraging the use of gardens to support students’ learning and fostering cooperation among schools, families and the community.

Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit for implementing youth gardens
This easy-to-use toolkit, developed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program and the Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Program, provides a framework for starting a fruit and vegetable garden. The toolkit is designed to walk you through the basic steps of starting and maintaining a garden.

School Garden Assessment Tool
This school garden assessment tool, developed by The Edible Schoolyard Project, provides a framework for collecting data on the functionality of school gardens and determining areas of need, including training, technical assistance and financial support.

Incorporating School Garden Language into a School Wellness Policy
This guide, developed by the Wisconsin School Garden Initiative, outlines two ways to effectively integrate school garden language into a district wellness policy. 

Please visit our Educational Resources page for a collection of materials for teaching students about agriculture and nutrition. For information regarding incorporating school garden produce into cafeteria meals, please refer to the Food Safety and Handling and Storage resources.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

© 2018 Texas Department of Agriculture