Thursday, March 4, 2010

Getting Parents Involved in School Gardens

Parents can be a vital asset to the success of your school garden.  I was recently asked how to involve parents in a school garden project and thought I would share a few suggestions. 

Feel free to add your own thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below.

  • Have parents donate gardening tools. Parents may have extra tools lying around that they don’t need. Donations save money instead of having to buy new tools. Parents can put their names on tools and pick them up after the gardening season is over.  By donating tools, parents will feel more invested in the project.

  • Invite parents to help plant/care for/harvest the garden. Create a volunteer schedule. Send information home in a letter or newsletter; provide specific tasks so parents know how to get involved.

  • Host a garden party.  It can be a planting/harvesting party where everyone works in the garden.  Or simply invite parents to tour the garden.  Students can show the parents around and tell them what they have learned.  Again, seeing the children get excited may encourage parents to pitch in.

  • Invite parents to plan the garden. Involve them in the process early on to make them feel invested.

  • Allow students to take fresh produce home. It may get parents more excited about the garden.

  • Invite a parent to come in and cook with produce from the garden.

  • Invite a parent to come in and read a children’s book about gardening.  Click here for a list of recommended books.

  • If a parent is a gardener, have the students interview him/her and ask for advice/tips for their garden.   

  • Don't forget about your PTA/PTO organization, which can be a great resource for funding ideas or volunteers!

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