Promising Practices

The SGSO Network aspires to build a constellation of organizations that support, sustain, and advance the school garden movement. As a community, we value accessible, open communication that encourages collaboration, networking, and the cross-pollination of ideas that can lead to unexpected results and solutions. We thrive on transparency, mutual support, and open-source sharing, when possible. We intentionally seek ways to make our organization, resources, and the experience of school gardening accessible to all children, youth and communities.


At the core of our design, we are centering a commitment to building an equitable movement and organization – one that works to dismantle oppressive structures by fostering inclusion and justice. We acknowledge and celebrate diversity, and commit to continuing to dialogue, learn and build a more liberated system together. 

Promising Practices

  • Equity & Inclusion in Garden Education
  • Funding School Garden Work
  • Relationship Building for Program Success
  • SGSO & School Garden Staffing Models
  • Finding, Improving & Sequencing Lessons
  • Program Assessment: Measuring & Sharing Impact
  • Networking and Communications
  • Professional Development Models
  • Maintaining Multiple School Gardens
  • Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit
Tools that can help SGSOs begin to do some of the work to answer these big questions and find the best ways to intertwine equity, inclusivity, diversity, and justice into all aspects of each school garden support organization. VIEW STRENGTHENING EQUITY & INCLUSION IN GARDEN EDUCATION
Identifying sustainable funding streams is a crucial element to ensure the success of school garden support organizations. We define sustainable funding as consistent, substantial and/or from permanent budget lines. The following resources provide an overview and examples of different funding models and sources that SGSOs rely upon. View Funding School Garden Work Promising Practices
The success of garden-based education programs delivered by SGSOs is directly related to the extent that they are able to build trusting relationships and robust partnerships with a diversity of stakeholders. View Relationship Building for Program Success
Explore the different ways school gardens and SGSOs staff their programs. View SGSO and School Garden Staffing Models and Sample Job Descriptions
Highlights promising practices shared by various SGSOs from across the country on how to develop a lesson sequence to support student learning; find the lessons you’re looking for; and adapt or improve upon them. View Finding, Improving & Sequencing High Quality Lessons
We strive for school garden programs to have access to quality evaluation tools and feel empowered to use them in meaningful and useful ways to improve their own programs; communicate with partners and funders; and share with the communities they serve. View resources for MEASURING IMPACT & SHARING RESULTS.
We strive to ensure that all school garden stakeholders have the opportunity to participate in dynamic regional networks to connect with each other and share resources, ideas, questions, funding sources and support, and more! View Networking and Communications Best Practices Document
Successful school garden professional development effectively supports school communities in using learning gardens as an instructional tool. It equips individuals, schools and organizations with the knowledge, language and tools to integrate the garden into the learning culture of the school or site. View Professional Development Best Practices Document
SGSOs strive to support school garden that are fully functional, easy to maintain, and integrated into the schoolyard. View Best Practices related to Maintaining Multiple School Gardens.
Developed by Slow Food USA and Whole Kids Foundation, the toolkit helps school district food serve bring garden produce in to the lunch line. View the Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit

School District Level Garden program & Resources

Education Outside School Garden Management Resources A unique collection of 50+ School Garden Management and Instructional resources – no need to reinvent the wheel! These resources were made available as Education Outside program closed and transitioned to serve different garden-based Americorps programs. These resources draw from many years of operating a successful garden-based science program in San Francisco and San Mateo County schools. They include everything from curriculum and garden educator training overviews to Top 10 garden infrastructure recommendations. Also included are resources related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Education Outside hopes you will use and/or share these resources widely.  

Berkeley Public Schools Garden and Cooking Program A longstanding district-run program that works to support academic, physical, emotional, and health development of pre-school through high school students. Visit their site to view their district wide curriculum, annual reports and recent news. 

University of Arizona Community & School Garden Program Connects students in Tucson Unified School District with their local food system and garden-based STEM learning labs. Visit their well developed site to view their program initiative, partners, curriculum, literature guides, and much more! 

Palm Beach County School District School Garden Manual A 127 page comprehensive guide of planning, installing and managing a school garden within a large school district. The guide references the various district departments that support or influence school garden programming including: Building Code Services, Environmental Conservation Services, Grant & Resource Development, Facility Services, Purchasing, Risk Management, Safety/Health Services, School Food Service. 

Office of the State Superintendent of Education School Garden Program While not technically a school district, the District of Columbia, has a well developed school garden program website and associated resources including evaluation tools, DC school grant program, and technical support/training resources.