Build a Budget

School Garden Budgets

Your school garden budget is a list of projected income and estimated expenditures for your project. This document is an invaluable tool to keep you and your planning committee on track financially throughout planning and developing your garden. It may be essential to obtaining approval from your employer to initiate the project, as well as to securing financial and in-kind support from potential sponsors and grant funding agencies. The first year of planning a garden budget is always the most challenging. Start out with just the basics and plan to expand as resources become available.

Steps to consider when building your budget:

  • Decide who will be responsible for managing and tracking project dollars
  • Review your project plan and make a list of probable expenses for your garden
  • Will your school absorb hard costs such as water and school staff labor, or will you need to include those costs in your budget?
  • List all available funds from your employer, grants, sponsorships, projected revenue,etc.
  • Research opportunities for in-kind donations of space, supplies, seeds, labor, etc.
  • Divide your list of projected expenditures into “necessities” and “accessories”, and budget for “necessities” first
  • You may want to categorize your expenditures by season so that you can spread expenditures over several semesters or school years (i.e. rent rototiller & amend/mulch soil in the spring, set up composting system in the summer, buy seeds and transplants for a late summer/early fall garden, build fences & enhance pathways in the winter)