National School Garden Program

in partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill

Garden to Cafeteria

The Garden To Cafeteria (GTC) program teaches students how to grow and harvest food safely to be used in the school cafeterias on the salad bars and in some cases, in scratch-cooking recipes. Using proper Food Safety Protocols, students provide fresh produce from the school gardens to the school kitchens with proceeds supporting the sustainability of the school garden. In some cases, the food service department purchases the produce with the funds going back into the school garden program to cover costs of maintaining the gardens.

Using fun signage on the salad bars, produce is identified in the salad items as having come from the garden. The garden programs benefit from the increase exposure and from the funding provided by the purchases of the produce.

In Denver, the Garden to Cafeteria program is now in its sixth year and has resulted in over 5,000 pounds of school garden produce going into the salad bars at about 250 schools. Overall, the GTC program has raised $5,000 for the garden programs at those schools.

Food Safety

Food Safety Protocols

One of the most inspiring moments in school garden work is watching children enjoying sun-warmed strawberries or cherry tomatoes directly off the plants. As garden leaders, we must ensure food safety practices are in place that will minimize any risks associated with eating fresh produce from the garden. This section contains food safety guidelines from several districts across the country to address concerns of using school garden produce in classrooms and cafeterias.

Garden to Cafeteria (GTC)

contact us

Slow Gardens

Lauren Howe
Program Director
877.SlowFoo(d), ext. 129


Andrew Nowak
Program Director
877.SlowFoo(d), ext. 128