Growing Chefs! Ontario: School Garden Program

School Garden Program

Our gardening educators will come right to your school, bringing with them all supplies necessary to deliver fun, hands-on, experiential school garden lessons and support.

Posted on: Nov 20, 2023

What to Expect: The School Garden Program will support schools to establish and grow student and staff capacity to maintain their school gardens. Students will be able to get their hands dirty outdoors, while connecting science and math curriculum to real-life problem solving. During the program, we will visit your school 4 times over the school year, each with seasonal tie-ins that allow students to learn about agriculture, sustainability, and their role in their local food system. Extension activities for each visit will be provided to reinforce and continue learning. Students will also work together to create a summer watering and harvest plan. We can also provide support and activity ideas for school-run garden clubs outside of our programming hours.

Dates & Times: Programming for the 20232024 school year is already booked, but applications for the 2024 – 2025 school year are open. Exact dates and times will be booked once the school year begins. One visit will be booked in each of March, April, May and June.

Grades: Three classes at your school between Grade 4 – 6 will participate. You can choose any combination of classes. It could be all one grade, or a combination of grades.

Pricing: The cost of this program is $2400. Growing Chefs! Ontario is a registered charity and no HST will be applied. The cost includes 4 visits each for 3 classes over the school year. It also includes the costs of extension activities and additional club/​staff support. Upon confirmation that your school was selected, subsidies will be available upon request through TVDSB Outdoor Education. 

Application Process: A School Champion applies on behalf of a school (see details below). Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee your selection. Confirmation of registration will take place after a review process, and the short-listed school will receive a site visit/​meeting before final confirmation. Please note that schools must already have or be in the process of building a school garden for use before the program begins.

School Champion: The School Champion will be the lead contact and coordinator for all program activities and the primary means of communication between Growing Chefs! and school staff. The School Champion can be a principal, vice-principal, teacher, teacher-librarian or other school staff. We will work with them to ensure the program is delivered efficiently and effectively, with little disruption to regular school activities.

School Champion Responsibilities:

  • Scheduling 4 school visits with the Growing Chefs! team. Each visit will take place over the course of one school day, with each of the three classes receiving one 45 minute lesson. Dates will be proposed by Growing Chefs! and the School Champion will need to confirm with school administration and teachers.
  • Distributing educational resources to all participating teachers. Ensuring all teachers are aware of the program.
  • Creating a schedule for classroom lessons during your school’s visits. 
  • Ensuring that all relevant accommodations needed, medical information, dietary restrictions and allergies that may be present in the participating classes are passed on to our team (only the last visit will involve eating/​preparing food).
  • Participating in the project evaluation process.

What space does Growing Chefs! require to deliver lessons?

Lessons typically happen in students’ classrooms or outside on school grounds. We also request a place for 1 – 3 staff and volunteers to sit and work from laptops in between classes if there are long gaps, and store materials between classes. This space is typically a staff or meeting room.

Is photo permission required to participate?

Allowing the Growing Chefs! team to take photos during lessons is not a requirement, however photos are a fantastic way to build community and sponsor engagement. Whenever possible, we hope that schools will share photo permission us. Please note that no student without granted photo permission will be excluded from any activities. If no photo permission is given, we may take photos of programming that exclude faces or any identifiable features of children and school staff. 

What is the evaluation process?

Evaluation is an important part of our program development. It is also useful for reporting to current funders and recruiting new ones. At the end of the program, School Champions will be sent an online feedback form to fill out and distribute to each teacher that participated. 

Food Allergies: Our team is highly experienced in managing dietary restrictions. Do not let a dietary concern prevent a student from participating in our programming. Get in contact with our staff team and we’ll do our best to make appropriate accommodations. If a participant has a life-threatening allergy, please read our official Allergen Statement here and let us know if you have any questions.

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