Has a school near you seen this common, hope-to-hazard pattern? One well-meaning volunteer helps create a school garden that students enjoy for a season or so; but gardening is ancillary to learning goals, no maintenance plan is in place, and all-too-soon an abandoned hazard replaces hopes. This is how many principals get soured on the idea of school gardening, says Alison Risso, director of marketing and communications for REAL School Gardens.
The Texas-born REAL School Gardens helps schools plan for gardens, manageable for the long-term, that enhance learning across the curriculum. Newly expanded, the non-profit is beginning to partner with schools in the DC area. Low-income schools can apply for comprehensive assistance. Some programs — including educators’ professional development and garden-planning assistance — are provided on a fee basis. But many resources, including lesson plans and gardening tips, are available to school communities everywhere free-of-charge to all.
REAL gardening, Risso tells the Education Town Hall, provides real-world grounding for many concepts in language and the arts, as well as in STEM skills. Full discussion on Track 4 below.
REAL School Gardens’ national office:
5520 Connecticut Ave.
NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20015
The Education Town Hall broadcasts from Historic Anacostia in Washington, DC, Thursdays
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The Education Town Hall BUS is a monthly program
organized by BadAss Teachers, United Opt Out, and SOS March.
The program regularly airs on the 4th Thursday of each month with occasional schedule changes — check back for late fall schedule.