Starting a School-Based Community Garden

Denver Urban Gardens supports school-based community gardens that create a bridge between the school and the surrounding community by offering gardening space to students, parents, teachers and neighbors. Each of these individuals brings important resources to the garden, and ultimately a mutually beneficial relationship can form between the school and the surrounding neighborhood. Teachers have an outdoor classroom where students are given the opportunity to experience hands-on lessons in: biology and ecology, horticulture, wellness and nutrition, recycling, composting, and community building. Community members are able to access space to grow their own food, to be outside in nature and get their hands dirty, to get to know their neighbors and build community, and to support youth by volunteering in both the school and garden.

Starting a school-based community garden is a unique process that requires the collaboration of the school and neighboring community members from the early stages of the project. Community gardeners are central to the sustainability of a garden on school grounds. DUG believes that they become dedicated caretakers of the school plots over the summer, and provide support for garden-related programming. In a study of community gardeners in Denver, 80% gardened as children, suggesting that gardening at a young age is deeply impactful and a life-changing experience.

Each school district’s requirements for school gardens vary such as design elements that are inclusive to young people, site specifications and construction materials. Educational programming can vary between school districts as well. Denver Urban Gardens has established relationships with Denver, Jeffco, Aurora, Douglas County, Adams 12 and Englewood Public Schools and can help to navigate the process of starting school-based community gardens in these districts. In other districts, DUG can help schools establish protocols for school-based community gardens.

The following are resources for starting gardens in these school districts:

For more information about starting a school-based community garden, request a New Garden Information Packet here.

Click here to view the Denver School Garden Coalition Operating Manual. For more information, please contact us