School Gardens & Greenhouse
Students who were exposed to a garden:
- Increased fruit and vegetable consumption by up to 1.5 servings per day (Duncan et al, Coventry University, 2015).
- Decreased BMI by 1% and diastolic blood pressure by 5%, and demonstrated less weight gain (Davis et al, USC, 2011).
- Exhibited a 50% increase in the average number of vegetables they chose from the lunch line and 43% increase in the average number of vegetables they ate(Parmer et al, Auburn University, 2009).
- Significantly increased the average number of vegetable varieties they consumed each month, including those they didn't grow (Ratcliffe et al, Tufts University, 2011).
Thirty-four of our schools have school gardens, many of them created and supported by local nonprofits. Garden to Table (formerly The Growe Foundation), Growing Gardens and Big Green work with schools to provide assistance with design, organization, planting, maintenance, and most importantly, lessons about biology, ecology, horticulture, and the economics of agriculture and food.
Typically, schools plant and tend their garden plot with participation from students, teachers and many parents. Some schools harvest lettuce and other short germination vegetables in the late spring with the crop used in one or more school meals. Students get to make further connections about what it means to eat local while taking pride in the literal fruits of their labor. In the fall, longer germination vegetables are harvested and used in the cafeteria or in a school farmers market to give students a hands-on experience with the economics of the local food economy.
When students get their own hands dirty, through school garden participation or field trips, they show more willingness to try new foods, especially fruits and vegetables.
BVSD is home to thirty-four school gardens, however learning opportunities in those gardens are limited by existing garden space and budget to install, renovate or maintain gardens. The BVSD Greenhouse, with the support of a USDA Farm to School grant, will provide teacher education through our Garden as a Classroom professional development workshop series, while also expanding the district’s ability to educate other BVSD community members who might be interested in working with school gardens each year.
While the ultimate goal remains to install and maintain gardens in all interested BVSD schools, with an emphasis on the elementary level, the Colorado growing season does not match up well with school garden lessons. In recognition of the important, experiential learning opportunities that await students in the garden, Food Services is renovating the greenhouse, and will operate and maintain an operational greenhouse throughout the year. The greenhouse will serve as a garden learning opportunity throughout the cold, snowy Colorado winter, while also helping school gardens flourish in the spring by growing plant starts for them.
Stay tuned for updates and announcements about the greenhouse renovation and transition to a year-round operation, including hosting field trips for BVSD schools!
Farm to school gives schools and school districts local control and flexibility to offer seasonally available, regionally-produced foods on their menu, often sourced directly from local farmers.
Farm to school benefits students, teachers, parents, and producers. Connecting communities to their local farmers, ranchers and fishers builds stronger ties to the community and a culture of appreciation for those who care for our land.
Farm to school introduces students to agriculture career paths. Our nation’s food supply depends on more young people entering the field of agriculture. Farm to school inspires young people to consider careers in agriculture and food systems.
With more than 12,000 plants, you can take home your garden staples and try something new. From artichokes to zinnias, we've got your plant starts at the annual BVSD Plant and Seed Sale! Heirloom and greenhouse varieties, too. All plants are organically grown and pollinator friendly with help from BVSD staff, students and community members.
100% of proceeds support nutrition education and farm to school programming for BVSD’s 31,000 students.
Presented by the BVSD School Food Project, with generous support from the Colorado Garden Foundation, and donations from Lake Valley Seeds and McGuckin Hardware.
The Spring 2020 Plant & Seed Sale will take place May 8, 9, 15 & 16 at the BVSD Greenhouse.