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 Operate with Mission-Driven Values
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
email@example.com 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
- 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
- Emily Shipman – KidsGardening.org – National
- John Fisher – Life Lab – Santa Cruz, CA/National
- Laura Thompson – Big Green – National
- Lyndsey Waugh – Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation – National
- Nathan Larson – Wisconsin School Garden Network
- Sam Ullery – Office of the State Superintendent of Education – Washington DC
- Tristana Pirkl – SGSO Network
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to connect.
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.
2021 Strategic Plan
Our 2021 Strategic Plan sets forth the following 3 year high-level vision and strategies for our network.
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.
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.
Fiscally sustainable organization with long term plans for support via diversified funding and revenue streams.
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
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!
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.