As there is a growing push to include more local and fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches, school gardens have become much more common, including here in Minnesota and through the hort society’s Garden-in-a-Box program. However, schools struggle to secure funding and interest to keep gardens growing.
The School Garden Support Organization Network (SGSO) is an online community that allows school garden professionals to share tips and stories in an effort to get gardens into as many schools as possible. The network’s Promising Practices site offers resources for key activities for school gardens support organizations.
SGSO resources include an online forum that allows professionals to reach out to each other to ask specific questions in an accessible way.
The SGSO website has a list of webinars and virtual gatherings. Some of the events include school garden support systems, food service and school gardens, and funding and sustainability solutions among many other topics. This allows prospective garden coordinators to find a list of resources and answers to possible questions.
For those who want in-person gatherings, there are a number of opportunities throughout the year. This includes the Growing School Gardens Summit in April and the annual Leadership Institute. These meetings include a number of speakers from across the country and several success stories from local groups.
Finally, SGSO has ways for professionals to connect in additional ways. They have an email list to join as well as several social media accounts that share information, images and ideas. All of this again is in hopes of expanding the growth of gardening among school children across the country as well as finding best practices and innovative ways to make the most out of resources they have.