The National Gardening Association is a Vermont-based national nonprofit leader in garden-based education. Our mission is to empower every generation to lead healthier lives, build stronger communities, and encourage environmental stewardship through educational gardening programs. We fulfill our mission by providing information and support for youth and school gardening programs, home gardeners, and the lawn and garden industry - one child, one school, one community at a time.
School gardens grow more than plants. Young people who participate in school garden programs improve their knowledge of good nutrition, broaden their tastes in terms of food choices, and increase their consumption of vegetables and fruits. Throughout the school year, incorporating gardening-based learning into the curriculum increases engagement and knowledge retention in key subjects such as math, science, and reading. Equally important, participating in garden programs allows children the opportunity for regular moderate exercise in an enjoyable way. These healthful diet and exercise practices, planted like seeds in the garden, continue to grow into life-long habits that can be effective weapons in the fight against childhood and, ultimately, adult obesity. In addition, the hands-on aspect of gardening fosters a sense of pride and empowerment, helps children plan and work together, and be more involved in and feel more responsibility toward their community. Gardening programs encourage an appreciation of nature and a sense of environmental stewardship. For many kids growing up in an urban environment, a school garden may be their strongest connection to the natural world.
Grants and Awards
Over the past forty years, NGA's support of youth gardening programs has allowed us to develop significant expertise and a rich base of knowledge so that we can provide the resources and information needed to implement successful, self-sustaining garden programs. Through our Garden in Every School Initiative™ we have provided funding and support to over 10,000 youth garden programs across the United States and internationally, worth approximately $4 million and directly reaching an estimated 1.6 million youngsters. Nearly 60% of our school grant winners have been from low-income communities, many in districts where almost all of the students receive federal assistance. NGA's garden programs have contributed to successful environmental education, health, and academic studies implemented in wide variety of learning environments. Learn more about our grants and awards programs.
NGA provides extensive educational materials and a host of free resources both online and through our educational catalog operation. Our kidsgardening.org website provides the most comprehensive collection of youth gardening content available online, offering free lesson plans, activity ideas, and classroom how-to guides to help teachers nurture healthy, environmentally conscious youth. In addition, NGA's education staff supports approximately 175,000 educators each month through our electronic newsletter Kids Garden News. NGA partners with leading educational institutions including Teachers College of Columbia University, UC Berkeley, and St. Michael's College to supply outstanding curricula.
Professional Development and Support
NGA is a key consultant on the benefits and implementation of school garden programs. We have consulted with First Lady Michelle Obama's office on her Let's Move initiative and the White House Children's Garden. NGA has also been asked to speak about our programs and methodologies at the CDC, USDA, and Institute of Medicine. NGA's educators regularly attend and present at national and international youth gardening conferences, including the "Gardens without Limits" conference in Metz, France, connecting with garden program directors around the world. Our resources have benefited educators across the country and around the globe, many of whom rely upon our curricula, programs, and funding.
Our mission is to help home gardeners grow -- in health, knowledge, environmental awareness, and enthusiasm. In the many ways the National Gardening Association reaches gardeners, we help make home and community gardens greener and more productive. From vegetables, herbs, and fruits to trees, lawns, flowers, and houseplants, we provide folks with the information they need to get started in the world of gardening and grow and maintain thriving, sustainable, and environmentally responsible food gardens and landscapes.
On our www.garden.org website, gardeners can access a multitude of articles on all facets of gardening to find how to grow all kinds of plants, identify and control pests and diseases, or figure out what kind of weeds are sprouting in the garden. They can also watch helpful videos or check the Events Calendar for upcoming programs in their areas.
Our free monthly Regional Garden Reports cover twelve regions from New England to Texas, California to South Carolina, providing timely and regionally accurate advice on what to do when in the home garden. The Garden Talk section of the newsletter keeps our readers abreast of the latest developments in the world of horticulture, including new plants, products, and cutting-edge research.
Ask & Share and Social Media
We continue to provide even more great gardening information through our Ask & Share feature, in partnership with HGTV Gardens, and our popular Facebook page with its daily gardening posts. Visited by hundreds of gardeners weekly, both these features allow visitors to get their questions answered by an NGA horticulturist and connect with other gardeners across the country or around the world.
All of our efforts support our broader goal of helping individuals and communities use the power of gardening to promote health and nutrition, sustainable development, and environmental stewardship - all while enjoying the fun of "playing in the dirt"!
Market Research and Custom Publishing
NGA is a recognized authority on the U.S. consumer lawn and garden market. Published annually since 1973, the comprehensive National Gardening Survey, conducted by the Harris Poll, studies consumer gardening practices, industry trends, and retail sales in 120 categories. NGA also offers custom market research and online survey services to help corporate clients assess product needs and trends. Additionally, we provide great gardening information through the custom newsletters, content licensing, and web content we provide to corporate clients. Learn more about our research services.