National School Garden Program

in partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill


Slow Food USA is proud to share with school garden leaders a large range of original manuals, guides and documents created by Slow Food leaders to support activities in school gardens. We have divided the Resource section into six sections that are critical for school gardens to be successful.

Why School Gardens?

As a garden leader, have you been asked by a school administrator or a potential funder “why are school gardens important?” We have scanned the current academic publications for studies related to school gardens and cooking classes. In this section, we have summarized the current data into easy to understand bullet points. We have also created Power Point slides of the results that can be downloaded and used in any presentation.

Starting & Maintaining Your School Garden

Slow Food leaders have been involved in school gardens for over 15 years and as a group have a wealth of information on creating school gardens and processes to help maintain strong programs for many years. One feature of this section is Slow Food USA’s School Garden Guide, which is a collection of Best Practices from 10 different Slow Food chapters on topics such as Volunteers, Marketing, Special Projects and Fundraising.


One of the keys to the long term success of school gardens is our ability to link lessons learned in the garden to the subject areas in the classroom. Basically, how can the school garden support the important academic areas taught by the teachers? In this section, we share many resources from Slow Food leaders that make that connection between the garden and the classroom. In particular, we feature the first publication of our anticipated Good, Clean and Fair School Garden Curriculum. We are thrilled to share the Good curriculum now that can be used by classroom teachers and garden leaders to teach Sensory Education and Kitchen Skills in the garden.

Garden to Cafeteria

Connecting the school garden to the cafeteria is a goal of many programs. Just imagine the students seeing fresh produce grown in the garden being served as part of the lunch service! Slow Food chapters have been successful in navigating the food safety rules and the relationships with Food Service Departments to get the garden produce into the meal service. In this section, we share food safety protocols and manuals that can be used in your community to create a successful Garden to Cafeteria program.

Youth Farmers Markets

School gardens offer a great opportunity to connect students to the greater community through the fresh food grown in the garden. Slow Food chapters have created programs like the Youth Farmers Markets, Friendship Trays, and Produce for Pantries that give youth the opportunity to share fresh, healthy produce with needy members in their neighborhoods. Through these programs, students learn about hunger, food deserts and food justice. Other programs developed by Slow Food chapters that connect the community to the school gardens include the Master Farmer Program on Long Island, NY and Chefs Move to Schools.

Professional Development

Slow Food USA’s "Growing Leaders in the Garden" is a Professional Development series that brings Slow Food staff and curriculum leaders to schools to help connect the school garden to classroom subject areas. We offer training in gardening, cooking classes, leadership in the garden, and programs like Youth Farmers Markets, Garden to Cafeteria and Produce for Pantries. Upcoming workshops include Austin Independent School District (Sept 2015) and Lawrence, KS School District (Feb 2015).

Ark of Taste

The Ark of Taste is a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. Since 1996, more than 1,100 products from over 50 countries have been added to the International Ark of Taste. Over 200 of these foods are from the USA, and we are always seeking more edible treasures to include. School gardens are an excellent place to bring these foods to a community and the Ark of Taste is a perfect fit for teachers who want to introduce their students to topics like biodiversity, heirloom plants, seed saving, historical roots of cultural foods and unique flavors from the garden.

Monthly Webinars

The National School Garden Program hosts monthly leader calls/webinars to provide our Slow Food chapters, educators, and school garden volunteers further support and technical assistance. Our webinars are free, open to the public, and recorded/archived. We've also partnered with various organizations like The Edible Schoolyard Project and the Whole Kids Foundation on past webinars.

Photo Library

We have started to accumulate school garden-themed photos in our Flickr Account, which we hope will become a clearinghouse for school garden “stock photos.” These are a combination of photos taken by our chapters as well as the national team as we document our trips around the country. This photo library contains photos grouped thematically (e.g. raised beds, cooking clacses, garden signage etc.) by album and are free to use for both inspiration and your own marketing/promotion.

Chipotle Resources

We have partnered with Chipotle to bring more resources to school gardens. 50% restaurant fundraisers, food donations, and currency gift cards are some of the resources available through their stores. Educational tools like Grow Activity Books and Grow Seed Starting Kits are offered by Chipotle as well. If you are interested in applying for any of the Chipotle resources, please use our application form.

contact us

Slow Gardens

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


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