You Can Have a Thriving, Educational School Garden! Running a school garden with consistency and academic integrity is the challenge that our community-based nonprofit has risen to meet. And it's a worthy challenge, given today's obesity rates, student difficulty with STEM subjects, and psychological wellness--school gardens are needed now more than ever. Fortunately, you don't need to be an experienced gardener to have a great school garden. We're here to make it easy for your school garden to thrive, growing happy, health and smart youth.
What We Provide We offer a full range of customizable programming, from one-time events such as teacher trainings, family cooking nights, zero waste system setups, and garden-build workdays, to ongoing programs that provide regular garden maintenance for your school garden and education for your students. We currently offer to schools within San Luis Obispo County, CA.
Funding Over the years, we've found our programs are most successful when schools are bought in--both in terms of teachers, parents, and administrators to host the program, and by sharing in the cost of the program. The partial fees listed below represent the shared cost we request from schools who wish to partner with us. These costs represent only a portion of our program costs, and we fundraise through grants, donations, and sponsorships to cover our additional costs, and keep our programs affordable for schools. As a nonprofit, our mission is to offer these programs at-cost--we don't make a profit, by definition. At times, we can offer some or all of these programs at a reduced rate, based on our current funding status. We also have several free resources (see below) that any school can utilize. For our paid services, we are happy to explore funding options with you, including grants, LCAP, Cafeteria Fund, PTA funding, and sponsorships. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions or ideas! Below you will find more about our services and their costs. Let's Get Started! Don't have a school garden, or don't know where to start? Don't worry! You can contact us for a free school garden consultation!
Browse below to learn more!! - The One Cool Earth Team
Garden-Education Teacher Trainings
Cost: $985 - $3000 per training (depending on number of teachers stipends, lunch and resource kit options);
Teacher trainings build a culture of garden education in your school and district. High-quality, focused trainings like ours have been shown to improve teacher confidence and skill and contribute directly to student achievement in many topics, including science, language arts, and nutrition. Through a fun, hands-on training that takes place in an actual school garden (customized for just one school or open to a district), teachers will learn how to utilize the garden as a platform for teachingscience, as well as supporting student health and wellness. The training will demonstrate specific lessons, providing lesson plans and materials as well as cover to following for TK-12 educators:
Teaching without Walls - how to manage students in the outdoors
Tool Tai Chi - garden safety for you and your students
Plant Story Time - learn about native plants through history, biology, ethnobotany
Gardening 101 - get comfortable with the basics of growing your own produce
What We Provide:
A 5 hour training for a minimum of 6 or up to 18 teachers at your school or district
Lesson plans & material kits (optional)
Recruitment, registration, follow up support and evaluations
Lunch, beverages and snacks
School or District Provides:
School site for training
Garden Educator Manager (GEM)
Cost: Title I Schools - $5040; Non-Title I Schools - $7000;
Did you know that studies have shown that garden-based education improves standardized testing scores in science? Not only that, gardens can increase you and your students' enjoyment and engagement with science topics, bridging textbook concepts with real-world experiences. Gardens also improve student health by familiarizing students with fresh, nutritious foods at a young age. What We Provide: We recruit, hire and train a passionate, qualified Garden Educator Manager (GEM) who will work at your school one day each week throughout the school year. Our GEM will:
Teach lessons in your school garden one day/week reaching a minimum of 3 classes (this is required by our grants, but of course you can schedule more classes!)
Provide garden-produce tastings for students
Utilize our Next Generation Science Standard-linked lessons based on waste, water and food themes (ask us if you'd like us to use your lessons or develop custom themes)
Tend to basic garden maintenance: planting, composting, watering, mulching, weeding
Collaborate with your school site to realize your goals for your garden
Cost: $500 + Materials (varies depending on goals);
Does your school have an existing garden that's a little run down? We can help! We'll organize a 2 to 4 hour workday at your school to give the garden a boost, accomplishing weed control, basic irrigation repair, and other refurbishing so that your teachers can use the garden as a classroom. What We Provide:
Preliminary garden assessment and workplan
Purchase and transport of required materials
Volunteer group to help out labor (your school community is welcome and invited to join in!)
Necessary tools and supervision to accomplish the work
Family Cooking Night
Family Cooking Nights encourage families to adopt cooking and eating together. Because cooking together creates a sense of ownership, preparing meals at home empowers kids with the skills to cook for themselves as adults and eat healthily. When kids help in the kitchen, they have more willingness to try new healthy foods. Cooking also provides time for families to hang out together, and imparts psychological and health benefits! Additionally, cooking reinforces skills like math, teamwork and following instructions that help kids succeed.
Read more about the Family Cooking Night Experience here! What We Provide:
A healthy cooking lesson for up to 50 participants in the school cafeteria on a weeknight from 5-7pm (we can also combine the event with a school Open House)
Signup forms, facilities use form submission, event coordination with school principal
All food, plus cooking and eating utensils
Setup and cleanup
The School Provides:
Cafeteria and kitchen space
A food service worker, if required by school policy
Recruitment of students and their families through send-home signups
Zero Waste Your School
Zero waste means rethinking, reducing, reusing, and recycling your school's waste to ZERO, or as close as realistically possible in this day and age. We offer a step-by-step approach which can be scaled to fit your school's desire and ability to go Zero Waste. All of our methods, instructions, and training videos are available for free on our website.
Waste Audit Cost: $400;
In Zero Waste, knowledge is power. We'll help you understand your waste streams by involving your entire school (or select classes) in sorting a day's worth of your school's trash. We provide all sorting materials: tarps, categorized bins, gloves, scales, etc., and one of our experienced team to organize and oversee the day, working with your students. A final report that summarizes your results and suggests areas of improvement will be provided. We recommend taking
Recycling Sorting System Setup Cost: $300;
Most school waste is generated during lunch. Your school can save the environment and money (depending on your waste-hauling costs) simply by sorting your recyclable lunch waste. We'll help you set up the physical sorting system (usually a sequence of bins) as well as the process to help students and staff utilize the system successfully.
Worm Composting System Setup Cost: $300 - $600, depending on size;
An average elementary school generates 30 to 50 lbs. of compostable fruits and vegetable scraps every day during lunch! You can save those valuable nutrients from the landfill by composting them. We'll help you set up the physical system (collection containers and worm bins) as well as the social systems (the Green Team) to divert the waste.
School Garden Consultations Are you a teacher, parent, or volunteer who is taking on your school garden? We can help get you started. First, you'll complete a self-assessment survey that helps us understand your goals, garden infrastructure, and existing support and resources. Then, we can meet (by phone or in person) with you twice throughout the year to provide advice, troubleshooting and resources that will help you meet your goals.
Teacher Trainings Through grant funding and community partnerships, we sometimes provide trainings that are free for teachers and informal garden educators. Contact us to find out what we have to offer!
Garden Education Lesson Plans We've compiled a trove of great lessons and curriculum over the years. They're free, and we're happy to share!
Veggie Starts Thanks to a partnership with Greenheart Farms Nursery, we are able to provide seasonal veggie starts to you at no cost. Three to four times per year we host pick-ups at one or two locations in the county. Free Volunteer Referrals We've developed lots of connections with local groups over the years, and we're happy to refer volunteer groups to your site! (You'll still need to coordinate the event with them, provide tools and supervision).
DIY Zero Waste Your School We provide all of our Zero Waste resources online, for free! With helpful diagrams, step-by-step instructions, and how-to videos, you can conduct a waste audit and bring recycling and composting to your school.
Assess, Build, Educate, Sustain
Before partnering with a school, we conduct a site review to assess existing interests, infrastructure, partners, and resources. Based on this background information, we launch our three step program to make a garden program that changes lives.
We work with schools and communities to create amazing gardens from scratch, or retrofit existing gardens. We follow the Food Forest model for garden design, borrowed from permaculture, to create gardens that are low-maintenance, high yield, and are ripe with teachable moments based on their ecological integrity.
Our passionate, qualified educators inspire students with Zero Waste, Food Forests, and Water Wise garden projects. We work at partner schools on a weekly basis to provide Next Generation Science Standard-aligned lessons that get students active and engaged on their campus, in their community and at home.
We are committed to lasting change--we help schools fully integrate gardens by supporting teachers with training & supplies. Our garden educators work with teachers on a regular basis to provide nutrition, science, and environmental context, outdoor education strategies, extension lessons that tie classrooms to the gardens. We also engage parents with regular garden events, family cooking nights, and by sending science project materials, recipes and garden produce home with students.