A Learning Community of School Garden Professionals

The SGSO Network is an open peer-to-peer learning network with the goal of growing, sustaining and elevating a movement of equitable garden-based education.

We provide professional & leadership development, resources, and platforms to connect for members serving at a school, district, regional, state, or national level.

We Facilitate Peer to Peer Learning of School Garden Professionals

Promising Practices

500+ resources, shared by SGSO Peers, on Key Activities related to managing school garden programming.

Online Forum

A forum of 900 members discussing topics related to running school garden programs.

Webinars

Since 2017, presenting an average of 10 webinars per year with an average live viewership of 180.

In-Person Gatherings

Growing School Garden Summit, Leadership Institute, & conference meetups

For the Purpose Of

We Operate with Mission-Driven Values

Our Structure

Membership is free and open to anyone looking to advance their school gardening efforts, whether at an individual school garden or across many school gardens.
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Action Groups accomplish a mix of ongoing and time-limited tasks & projects and are carried out by the Governance Board and members. The Network welcomes task & project ideas from all members – email 

tristana@sgsonetwork.org to propose an idea or join/form an Action Group.

  • Equity, Inclusion, Justice & Diversity
  • Growing School Gardens Summit
  • Leadership Institute Facilitation
  • Webinar Planning & Implementation
  • SGSO Unite! Event Planning
  • Leadership Pathways
  • Mentorship Program
  • Policy/Advocacy
  • Promising Practices/Web Resources
  • Research & Literature Review 
  • Social Media Strategy
  • And more…

The Governance Board has 14 members and meets monthly to enact the Strategic Plan, while also serving on Action Groups. We work to ensure that the Governance Board reflects the level of diversity within our network.

Per our 2021 strategic planning, we are in the process of expanding our Governance Board to 14 members. Learn more about joining our Governance Board.

Current Governance Board

  1. Emily Shipman – KidsGardening.org – National
  2. John Fisher – Life Lab – Santa Cruz, CA/National
  3. Laura Thompson – Big Green – National
  4. Lyndsey Waugh – Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation – National
  5. Nathan Larson – Wisconsin School Garden Network
  6. Sam Ullery – Office of the State Superintendent of Education – Washington DC
  7. Tristana Pirkl – SGSO Network
  8. Whitney Cohen – Life Lab – Santa Cruz, CA/National

Network Director, Tristana Pirkl, manages day-to-day operations and interacts with members, Action Groups & the Governance Board to enact our strategic goals. Email tristana@sgsonetwork.org to connect. 

Organizational Structure

About our Members

We are a network of school garden professionals, serving programs at any level, from individual school gardens to School Garden Support Organizations (SGSOs) who support multiple school gardens.
 

 

Currently, our network consists of over 4,200 individuals representing more than 2,000 organizations or schools that support over 100,000 gardens.
Organization Types
Organization Types from the 2020 Member Survey
Roles of Members
Self-reported Roles from the 2020 Member Survey
Word Cloud
How our Members Describe Us - Generated from the 2020 Member Survey and Interviews

2021 Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan
Click Image to Download
Our 2021 Strategic Plan sets forth the following 3 year high-level vision and strategies for our network.

Vision

Support the growth and sustainability of an equitable school garden movement.
Programs & Services
Relevant, collaborative, member-valued and data-driven programming, focused on furthering the collective mission of the Network and that of the school garden movement. 
Membership
Engaged members who are committed to peer-to-peer learning, networking, and collaboration, and have agency within the network to participate in how best serves their each unique needs.
Operations & Infrastructure
Clear and organized infrastructure that provides support while allowing for the emergent, organic, vibrant, and collaborative leadership that makes the Network unique.
Finances
Fiscally sustainable organization with long term plans for support via diversified funding and revenue streams.

View our 2021 Town Hall presentation where Governing Board Members share: where we have been, an overview of our strategic planning process, and avenues for engagement.

Our Strategies for Success

Our Action Steps
When did the SGSO network form?

The idea of a national dialogue for school garden support professionals was proposed at an Open Space Session of the 2012 Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Burlington, Vermont. Since that time, we have continued to increase our reach and peer-to-peer networking.

2022 – April 22-25: The first Growing School Gardens Summit in Denver, CO will take place, uniting 400 school gardening leaders
2021 –Network Director hired & staff, governance and Strategic Planning process completed in August
2019 – Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation commits to multi-year investment, enabling the SGSO Network to scale impact
2017 – Launch of the SGSO Webinar Series
2016 – First Leadership Institute – an immersive, week-long training for garden leaders
2014 – The SGSO Network formed to provide a space to share best practices among staff supporting multiple school gardens
2012 – Idea for a school garden Peer-to-Peer learning group sparked at Farm 2 Cafeteria Conference in Burlington, VT

Immense Gratitude

Thank you to our incredibly active and hands-on Governance Board and all of our members who share resources, collaborate and participate in delivering peer-to-peer learning each year. Our mission is made possible directly because of you!


Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation

Through a multi-year capacity building investment from the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, the Network’s staff, networking events, and Growing School Gardens Summit are made possible.

WholeKidsFoundationLogo

 

Since 2016, Whole Kids Foundation has supported the Network’s annual Leadership Institute and, most recently, the creation of the Promising Practices Resources.