We offer programs and events that teach gardening skills and foster a love of healthy eating!
SCHOOLYARD GARDEN PROGRAM
Since 2013, Backyard Growers has led a unique program that gives 100% of Gloucester's K-5 students the opportunity to plant, harvest, and eat two garden crops a year in collaboration with the School Food Service Department. The program includes Salad Days, where students plant leaf lettuce varieties that they harvest and enjoy in June, and Fall Harvest Days, where each grade level plants a specific fall crop that is harvested and enjoyed in the cafeteria when students return in the fall. Over 1,300 students get their hands dirty in school gardens and eat delicious, school-grown vegetables each year, giving students a true seed-to-fork experience that fosters a new appreciation for fresh vegetables! The Schoolyard Garden Program is made possible through a massive collaborative effort. Through our partnership with FoodCorps, Backyard Growers hosts a FoodCorps service member who serves the school district, and we couldn't do it without the support of school administrators, principals, teachers, food services staff, parent and community volunteers, and of course, the kids!
WANT TO LEARN HOW TO USE THIS PROGRAM AT YOUR SCHOOL?
ELEMENTARY IN-SCHOOL PROGRAMS
We offer fun, educational in-school programs for first graders at all Gloucester elementary schools where kids learn all about the food system, the garden ecosystem, and the science behind growing food. The program meets common core standards. To learn more and to register contact our School Programs Manager.
Preschool garden program
We are offering a new program for the preschool based on our Schoolyard Garden Program. In spring, students will plant salad greens for a June salad party, and plant a variety of fall crops in preparation for a harvest and feast in conjunction with their fall Stone Soup curriculum unit. We have also installed gardens at Hartz Street Nursery School and Pathways for Children.
O'MALEY INNOVATION MIDDLE SCHOOL GARDEN
We installed O'Maley's first garden in fall 2014 in collaboration with the 6th grade science teachers. In spring, students will plant popcorn and learn about the history and science behind this crop! We also run a super-fun gardening and cooking after school program through O'Maley Academy. To learn more and sign up for the next session go here.
O'Maley Made Bread!
This spring, 7th grade students at O'Maley Innovation Middle School grew, harvested, processed and baked wheat into bread. The wheat program will expand next year with 6 new raised garden beds, and continue to be implemented into social studies curriculum!
See below to try out this simple recipe at home!
GLOUCESTER HIGH SCHOOL GARDEN
Backyard Growers works with students in the High School Environmental Club as part of the Gloucester U after school program to plan and plant the high school greenhouse and gardens, to determine how crops will be used, and to work on composting and recycling efforts in the school. To learn more and sign up for the next session go here.
Harvest of the Month
Backyard Growers staff and service members lead cafeteria taste tests with local, fresh vegetables throughout the district in collaboration with the School Food Service Department. Students taste test a range of fresh, delicious produce prepared in both simple and innovative ways, introducing them to new favorite foods and allowing them to weigh in on whether they liked it, loved it, or were simply brave enough to try it!