schoolyard gardens header image

SESSION DESCRIPTIONS - Friday, February 22

Call to Action
Starting and sustaining a schoolyard garden from a superintendent's point of view.

Nancy Rajanen, Superintendent, Waconia Public Schools (invited)

Schoolyard Gardens: What does success look like?
The key to a successful schoolyard garden is defining success, then setting and realizing goals. This session presents a visual model for designing your roadmap to success.

Tim Kenny, Director of Education, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Leadership: Principals as champions of school gardens
A school principal can be a key component of a successful schoolyard garden. Three Minnesota school principals will share how they use their leadership to ensure success of school gardens.

Brian Ingemann, Oak Grove Middle School, Bloomington
Ryan Gibbs, Loring Community School, Minneapolis (invited
Tom Benson, Pilot Knob Elementary, Eagan (invited)

Legal Issues Impacting School Gardens

Fear of legal issues can be an obstacle to developing a school garden. Mary Marrow, an attorney with the Public Health Law Center, will present a snap-shot of legal issues that you may encounter with school gardens, identify which ones are important to address , and provided solutions and resources to help navigate these...before they become a problem.

Mary Marrow, attorney, Public Health Law Center

Sustaining the school garden during summer
Who is caring for the school garden during the summer months? The answer to this question is essential to success of school gardens. This session will explore a number of strategies for developing a plan to make sure your garden remains vital throughout the summer, and ready for students returning in the fall.

Alive & Growing - Making the schoolyard garden essential
Long-term success of a school garden requires that it is well integrated into school culture. This session will highlight and detail two main ways of doing this: aligning the garden with food service and/or state learning standards.

      Part 1: Standards

    State standards drive the academic curriculum in schools. In our packed- curriculum classes, where is there room for a schoolyard garden? This presentation will share some thoughts on the continual evolution of standards, the current state of science education and finding a place in your school's curriculum for a garden to grow and thrive.

      Joe Alfano
, STEM Coordinator, Minneapolis Public Schools

      Part 2: Food Service
      Aligning goals of a garden with those of school food service can lead to success and sustainability of a school garden. This session will feature some examples of gardens growing food for use in lunchrooms.

      Marlene Webb, Bemidji

Case Studies

There is a rich array of successful schoolyard gardens around the state. A set of case studies will be presented that exemplifies best practices from these gardens. From a small schoolyard plot to larger-scale food production acreage, each case study will highlight a specific key component of success. Invited groups include:

      Loring Community School, Minneapolis, Kids Cook Classroom (K-5)
      This presentation will highlight the school's Classroom Garden and how it is tied to cooking in the classroom

      Dowling Urban Environmental School, Minneapolis (K-5)
      The Green Team is a successful parent involvement model that will be featured in this session.

      Elisabeth Young-Isebrand, parent

      Champlin Brooklyn Park Academy, Champlin (K-5)
      Two keys to success will be shared during this session: integration of garden activities into school curriculum, and broad staff support and buy-in for the garden.

      Academy for Sciences & Agriculture, Vadnais Heights (7-12)
      Connections with the business community is an important component for support of a school garden. AFSA staff will present their success in forming a garden-school-business connection.

      American Heart Association Teaching Gardens
      How can partnering with a large non-profit help get a school garden started? This session highlights just that - a partnership between the American Heart Association and Minnesota Tribal schools.

      J.J. Hill Montessori, St. Paul (K-5)
      Sometimes the best laid plans just don't work. This session will tell the story of a garden that was, then was not, and now is again, and what lessons the school learned from its first garden attempt.

      Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School, Tyler, Minnesota
      Brian Boomgaarden will talk about equipment our school has been able to fund for the garden through the SHIP grant, what we have planted, successes and failures of various vegetables we have grown, how we use them, maintaining the garden in the summer, and the grape vines and apple trees. Carly Fritz will share her perspective as a student gardener and FFA member. Pam Bush will briefly talk about the refrigerated salad bar that was partially funded by SHIP funds as a means of using our garden produce and promoting salads at noon lunch.
     In addition, Ms. Bush will share information from the school's head cook about using the produce, preserving the excess produce, and how it has helped their budget and permitted them to serve more healthy lunches. Ms. Bush will also talk about the impact the garden has had on the community.

      Pam Bush, Principal
      Brian Boomgaarden, Ag Instructor and FFA Advisor
      Carly Fritz, 12th-grade student, president local FFA, summer garden caregiver

      Gordon Parks High School, St. Paul
      Using the platform of a long-standing successful school garden at Gordon Parks, the school is reaching out to the community and forming new alliances, as it defines an expanded role for the garden and school in the wider community.

      Paul Creager, Curriculum & Media Arts Coordinator

      Community Bees on Bikes and Washburn High School, Minneapolis
      Partnerships are an essential element to school garden success. This session highlights Bees on Bikes and how they partner with schools to enhance student learning. This partnership also explains how the partnership is dealing with a potential legal issue -who is liable if something happens?

      Erin Rupp, Co-founder and Director of Education, Community Bees on Bikes

      Columbia Heights - Life-long learning (birth through K-12 into adult enrichment)
      Integrating a school garden into programming across ages and audiences deepens the significance of the garden.

Youth Voices: Inspiration & Call to Action
This not-to-be-missed session gets at the core reason for all school gardens: students! A panel of youth and young adults will share personal stories about the impact of garden programs on their lives. Inspirational.

Throughout the day:

Building a Resource

Participants and speakers will contribute to a graffiti wall as we build a set of resources and referrals to help all aspects of schoolyard garden planning, maintaining, and sustaining. Also suggestions for next year's conference will be added to the wall.

Gardening Questions
Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your "how to" gardening questions and explain how easy it is for your garden group to access their expertise in the future.


garden in pots


child with adult in garden


school gardens in cans


kids playing in schoolyard garden


kids being scientific in garden


high school community gardeners