1. What is a Learning Garden?
A Learning Garden is an outdoor classroom designed and manufactured by Big Green. Learning Gardens, which are typically built in 3-5 days, are uniquely designed to fit the look, feel, and style of each school yard. Learning Gardens are built to last and can go on any ground-surfacing. The built environment includes raised beds, benches, boulders, a shade structure, and art poles.
2. How much does a Learning Garden cost for my school?
Big Green strives to privately fundraise in support for the Learning Garden Initiative across the country. In order to support our efforts, and ensure that we have the full support of the district and the school, we ask that each district offer a small financial commitment. Following installation of the Learning Garden, Big Green provides an array of programming and resources to the school.
3. How do I use a Learning Garden?
Learning Gardens are inviting outdoor classrooms where teachers can teach and get inspired and students can engage in creative learning. In addition to teaching and growing food in the garden, teachers are invited to explore unique and creative teaching opportunities in the Learning Garden. Big Green provides schools with ongoing support to ensure that the school community is able to fully benefit from the Learning Garden. We are committed to providing teachers with training so that they feel confident and effective at using the space as an outdoor classroom.
4. Does Big Green provide curriculum?
Big Green works with national partners to design content for our Education Pathway. Our core curriculum serves as a resources for teachers to utilize in their classroom and their Learning Garden. To learn more about our content tracks, visit Curriculum Partners.
5. If Big Green is not in my city, can I buy Learning Garden beds for my school?
Our Learning Garden Initiative provides schools with a programmatic continuum. The continuum starts with the built environment and development of garden skills, which in turn then support our Education and Community Pathways. We do not currently offer the Learning Gardens beds as a stand-alone product. If your school is located in a community we are not in yet, please feel free to use our resources and keep checking on “where we are growing!”
6. Can the Learning Garden go on a roof?
A Learning Garden is a flexible system that Big Green works to make fit on every schoolyard. We will work with you and your school to assess the best place for the Learning Garden during the application process. Site selection for the garden is subject to local building codes and district approval.
7. What is the time commitment to have a Learning Garden?
A Learning Garden is a living laboratory and requires a modest time commitment for maintenance and care. Big Green will work with each school’s Learning Garden Team to design a watering, maintenance, and harvesting plan that best suites the school’s needs and availability.
8. What happens to the Learning Garden in the summer?
During the summer months it is up to you and your community to decide who will care for the Learning Garden. We suggest reaching out to the community to find a summer camp, non-profit partner, or parent volunteers who are willing to tend to and harvest the summer vegetables. Organizing a volunteer harvest day as a back-to-school event is a great way to get the school together for a fun and health-focused celebration.
9. Can I apply for a Learning Garden if I am not a school?
Each city we work in has unique criteria for applicants. Check out our application page to see if you are eligible to apply!
10. I have a garden at my school, can I still be involved in the Learning Garden Initiative?
Our regional teams are dedicated to supporting local gardening and student nutrition efforts. We provide core workshops in each of our regions. If space is available, workshops may be open to the larger garden community.