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March 1, 2008  • 

Cambridge, MA-based CitySprouts’ mission is to develop, implement and maintain beautiful, resource-rich school gardens in collaboration with public school communities. Integrated into the curriculum, their gardens inspire teachers, students and families with a deep, hands-on connection to the food cycle, sustainable agriculture and the natural environment.

CitySprouts’ core school garden program helps school communities create a learning garden in the schoolyard and supports teachers’ use of the gardens as a direct extension of their classroom curriculum in science, history, math, literacy, health and art.

In addition, after-school and summer programs promote lifelong habits of good health and environmental stewardship for children, youth and adults. Their Open Garden drop-in provides a weekly time for the community to stop in the schoolyard to garden or to learn about health or environmental topics, such as cooking with garden produce, testing soil for nutrients and pollutants, composting or pressing apple cider, while CitySprouts youth internships for middle-school youth (ages 12-14) give young people a chance to develop leadership skills, learn basic gardening skills and offer a first employment opportunity that engages both mind and body in a healthy way.

CitySprouts is also member of the Growing Healthy Collaborative, a Farm to School initiative in Cambridge and Somerville public schools. Six Growing Healthy partners pool their resources to bring local produce to the school cafeterias and make sure that children and families have an opportunity to learn about healthy food – how and where it’s grown, how to prepare it and why it’s good for health. To learn more about what Farm to School programs are, have a look at Yum-o’s feature on this topic.

To learn how you can start something similar to CitySprouts in your school district, visit their Resource page, where you’ll find garden-based lessons that extend classroom-based math, science, history and social studies lessons into the garden, an online forum to ask for ideas and advice and information about how to work with public school districts to integrate garden-based learning with public education.