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 2 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 e-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.
It is our hope that our shop, Shop.KidsGardening.org, will inspire and encourage you to enjoy all that gardening with kids has to offer. We feature fun, innovative, educational, gardening products that are designed for teachers, communities, hobbyist, and families. 100% of proceeds from our shop support the National Gardening Association's (NGA) 501(c)3 nonprofit mission. Your purchase helps to fund youth garden grants, free activities materials, curriculum, and program development. All products are NGA certified, meaning they have been hand-selected by our horticulturalists and educators for quality, durability, and value. Help us grow the next generation by visiting Shop.KidsGardening.org today! And dont forget to check out our digital catalog!
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 people 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.
Ask & Share and Social Media
We continue to provide even more great gardening information through our Ask & Share forum, 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"!