Get the Word Out

Connect Getting the Word Out to Your Curriculum

  • Click Here for an Explore the Roots of Your Food activity to engage your students in communicating the importance of school gardens.

 

 

Be Prepared for Community Interest

A school garden generates a lot of excitement around the school and throughout the community. It definitely takes some time and energy to best utilize the enthusiastic parents, teachers, and community members, but it is one of the single most important aspects of a successful school garden. But you have to be prepared for help – often the most well intentioned people offer to help or ask about volunteering at times when you may be too busy to talk, so it is helpful to have a simple email address that you can give them to continue the conversation at a later time when you can be more focused and give them your full attention.

 

Engage Families

Our school has a garden project! Use family letters, newsletters, and signs to inform families about what’s
“growing on” with the garden project. You can do this in a paper format or electronically. A garden blog is a
good place to share information. Include students in the preparation of the garden newsletter or blog. Scroll down to download a sample template for a garden newsletter.

Families can provide lots of assistance in the garden when there is big work to be done! Host “work bees” to prepare the garden plot in the spring, ask for volunteers with weekend or summer work that needs to be done, hold a garden celebration or fall harvest festival to educate about the garden project or get assistance with a big harvest. Make sure that expectations are clear for families. Be clear what their role is for the event (what they
can pick, what is to be left, etc). Let them know your garden guidelines.

 

Media

Utilizing your local media outlets is really an effective way to spread the word about your project. Most local news stations and newspapers love reporting on a positive community project like a school garden. There is most likely a specific reporter who will act as your champion and take a special interest in your story, you’ll just have to find them. Bringing attention to your project will open up venues for calls for volunteers and fundraising momentum.

Every community has different forums for discussing local events. Don’t forget to use the most basic forms like bulletin boards and word of mouth for volunteer days or markets. If you want to go more high-tech, creating a blog or website makes a place where people can go to learn more through a quick internet search. It also creates a place for the inevitably wonderful pictures and stories you’ll have to share throughout a growing season. Depending on how deep your well of time and resources is, the blog or website can be as sophisticated or as basic as you have the time for. Starting and maintaining a Facebook page or Wordpress blog might not seem like top priority when your zucchini plants are being taken over by squash bugs, but having an active forum to say “Help! Squash Bug Search and Destroy tomorrow from 4-6 at the School Garden!” is invaluable.

Another inexpensive and simple outlet for garden news is writing regular email updates. Most parents would love to hear about the progress of the school garden over the summer, but they might not take the time to check out the blog. Maintaining a list of emails of supporters means that the most-likely-to-help folks are literally an email away. It also means that no one has the “out of sight, out of mind” problem over the summer; they are connected, and are much more likely to help out. Updates should always include a little bit of the good, fun stories of the garden and a picture, ideally including students. Be sure to bring email sign-up sheets for updates to PTO meetings or any local events where you think you might find supporters. It will be a helpful and gratifying tool to look back at your updates and see the progress you made in a season as well!

Now that you have your community connections established through media, don’t forget to use it! Use it as a call to arms, a way to say thank you, or a forum for updates on your projects, but don’t forget to put a little bit of time into it each week, it will really pay off.

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