The Journal of Extension -

December 2020 // Volume 58 // Number 6 // Research In Brief // v58-6rb4

Nebraska School Gardens and the Potential for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Learning

School-based growing spaces support student engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning through authentic agricultural pursuits. We conducted a survey of Nebraska schools to characterize existing school-based growing spaces and to identify challenges limiting garden-based STEM learning. Our findings confirm the use of school-based growing spaces for kindergarten through 12th-grade STEM instruction, especially in the sciences. Opportunities for technology and engineering experiences are currently limited, and additional professional development support is needed to broaden garden-based STEM learning efforts. Our findings are relevant to current and future Extension efforts supporting school gardens, especially in rural agricultural communities.

Erin Ingram
Science Literacy and Community Engagement Coordinator
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Science Literacy Initiative

Jenny Keshwani
Associate Professor and Science Literacy Specialist
Department of Biological Systems Engineering

University of Nebraska


In the 21st century, U.S. and global economies are increasingly reliant on job growth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Future U.S. prosperity hinges on a workforce that is ready and eager to engage in STEM-related professions (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Educators face the challenge of preparing learners with the necessary knowledge, skills, and interest in STEM education and career pathways (National Academy of Sciences & National Academy of Engineering, 2005).

Academic performance in science and mathematics declines as students advance from primary to secondary grade levels (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016), and comparable decreases are found in student interest in STEM education and careers (Osborne et al., 2003; Vedder-Weiss & Fortus, 2011, 2012). Despite continued U.S. science education reform, gains in student achievement have been marginal (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016). Trends suggest that many students are pushed out of the STEM education pipeline as they lack the necessary knowledge, skills, or interest in STEM to be successful.

Agriculture provides an interdisciplinary context in which students can engage in experiential STEM learning and career exploration (Campbell et al., 2015). School gardens provide opportunities for youths to gain STEM knowledge and skills through authentic, personally relevant agricultural pursuits (Kelley & Williams, 2013; Lawrence & Rayfield, 2012; Zuiker & Wright, 2015). Although promising, the success of STEM-integrated agricultural learning experiences requires access to suitable growing spaces and educators equipped with necessary instructional resources and training.

Nationally, school-based growing spaces (e.g., outdoor gardens, greenhouses, tower gardens, containers) are increasingly accessible. The prevalence of garden programs in U.S. public elementary schools has more than doubled, increasing from 11.9% in 2006 to 31.2% in 2013 (Turner et al., 2016). While researchers have explored opportunities to implement STEM in school gardens (Kelley & Williams, 2013; Klemmer et al., 2005), data related to the prevalence, features, and use of these spaces and needs of educators working in them are limited (Cater et al., 2012; Life Lab, 2011, 2014).

To gain a better understanding of the use of these spaces for kindergarten-through-Grade-12 (K–12) learning, we designed and implemented a general needs assessment survey in cooperation with external partners to characterize the prevalence, features, and purposes of existing spaces supporting outdoor learning. We then explored barriers and challenges limiting expansion of garden-based STEM learning across Nebraska.


Web-Based Survey Development

We designed a web-based survey in accordance with the tailored design method (Dillman, 2009), creating items when necessary and using modified items from similar surveys of school garden programs (Life Lab, 2011, 2014) when possible. The 44-item survey instrument (see appendix) focused on the following topics:

  • consent to participate and be added to a school garden database;
  • participant demographics;
  • garden/growing space status, age, features, production, and intended use;
  • garden-based education efforts;
  • garden program staff, funding, training, partners, and evaluation;
  • barriers to growing space access or garden-based learning; and
  • participant attitudes.

The proposed study protocol received approval from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln institutional review board on October 10, 2018 (IRB# 20181018719EX).

Participant Recruitment and Data Collection

Email addresses for Nebraska public school administrators were sourced from the Nebraska Department of Education's Nebraska Public Schools Administrators Email Lists ( Email addresses for private school administrators, Nebraska agriculture education teachers, and afterschool program leaders also were sourced from the Nebraska Department of Education.

In total, 1,216 school-affiliated personnel were invited to participate via a personalized recruitment email and two follow-up reminders distributed between October 10 and November 1, 2018, via Qualtrics Survey Software (Provo, UT, USA). Potential survey respondents were asked (a) to respond to the survey if they had adequate knowledge to describe any school garden program at their site or (b) to pass along the recruitment email to another adult with knowledge of the school's garden program. Therefore, some snowball recruitment (Creswell, 2012) occurred via forwarded emails to persons outside the recruitment sample. Email recruitment language emphasized the importance of gathering data from schools with and without access to a garden or other growing space.

Data Cleansing and Analysis

Prior to data analysis, we removed responses lacking consent or providing insufficient information about the presence or absence of a school garden. Due to snowball recruitment, the possibility existed for multiple participants to report data on a single growing space. Participant-provided location data ensured that the response rate was not inflated due to duplicate survey responses from a single school. After data cleansing, 334 complete and 29 partial survey responses remained for analysis (30% response rate).


Prevalence, Features, and Instructional Use of School Growing Spaces

Responses were evenly split between schools with and without access to a garden or other growing space (Table 1). Half of all reported growing spaces had been added in the preceding 3 years (Figure 1), suggesting increasing popularity.

Table 1.
Access to Growing Space

Access to growing space f Percentage of responses
Currently have access 186 51
Previously had access 34 9
Never had access 143 39
Note. n = 363.

Figure 1.
Length of Time Growing Space Has Operated

Note. n = 168.

Vegetables were the most popular plant type grown, reported by 84% of respondents (n = 149), followed by nonedible ornamentals (58%, n = 103), herbs (51%, n = 91), Nebraska native plants (26%, n = 47), fruits (16%, n = 29), and nuts (2%, n = 2). Growing spaces were outfitted with a variety of features, with greenhouses being the most popular, followed by a tool shed or other storage area and designated teaching areas that could include tables or benches (Figure 2).

Figure 2.
Growing Space Features

Note. n = 142.

In locations with access to a growing space, garden-based instruction was common (97%). Growing space instruction largely occurred during the school day (91%) or in conjunction with afterschool programming (48%) (Figure 3).

Figure 3.
Timing of Instruction in Growing Space

Note. n = 173.

Garden-based instruction occurred across grades preK–12 but was more prevalent in secondary grades than in primary grades (Figure 4).

Figure 4.
Grade Levels Taking Part in Growing Space Instruction

Note. n = 173.

Results suggest that growing spaces already support aspects of STEM learning, with predominantly science and math as core subjects and agricultural science and health/nutrition as noncore subjects (Table 2).

Table 2.
Use of Growing Space for Core and Noncore Academic Subjects

Subject type Subject taught using the growing space f Percentage of responses
Core a Science 125 99
Math 50 40
English/language arts 10 8
History 10 8
Noncore b Agricultural studies 137 83
Health/nutrition 57 35
Service learning/community service 41 25
Family and consumer sciences/culinary arts 38 23
Environmental studies 35 21
Business/entrepreneurship 27 16
Special education 18 11
Art 18 11
Physical education 5 3
Computer technology 3 2
Foreign language 0 0
a n = 126. b n = 165.

Barriers and Challenges Limiting Access to or Instructional Use of Growing Spaces

In locations without a growing space, respondents identified several limiting factors, including lack of the potential for garden care during the summer months, financial support, interest, and physical space (Figure 5).

Figure 5.
Barriers to Accessing Growing Space

Note. n = 140.

In addition to these barriers, respondents expressed the need for professional development and resources to manage spaces or facilitate student learning. Over half of the respondents had not received professional development for using growing spaces for instruction in the preceding 3 years (Figure 6). In addition, most respondents indicated interest in attending training related to garden-based instruction, and nearly half indicated an interest in attending training to develop skills in outdoor classroom management or gardening (Figure 7).

Figure 6.
Garden-Based Professional Development Received in Past 3 Years

Note. n = 166.

Figure 7.
Reported Interest in Attending Local Training on Various Topics

Note. n = 149.


The purpose of our study was to characterize the prevalence, features, and instructional uses of existing school growing spaces and identify barriers and challenges that limit garden-based STEM learning across Nebraska. Our findings suggest that school growing spaces in Nebraska support STEM instruction, especially related to the sciences, but that opportunities for technology and engineering experiences are limited and additional support is needed to broaden garden-based STEM learning efforts.

Previous research on school garden programs has tended to focus on elementary schools (Turner et al., 2016). Other school garden survey results have shown that garden programming is most prevalent in kindergarten through Grade 5 (Life Lab, 2011, 2014). In exploring the full range of K–12 education, we found that student learning in Nebraska school growing spaces occurs mostly in the secondary grade levels. This may be partially due to the recruitment and response of agriculture education teachers in our survey. Agriculture education programs may be overlooked, nationally, as a valuable noncore subject through which older students can engage in experiential STEM learning.

Our findings agree with California school garden surveys indicating widespread use of garden spaces for science instruction (Life Lab, 2011, 2014). Although science appears to be a well-supported tenet of STEM learning in school growing spaces, other areas of STEM may be overlooked. In our study, we found a lack of computer technology instruction and limited use of agricultural technology and engineering (automated irrigation, weather stations, and solar panels) linked to growing spaces.

Previous survey research examining factors affecting school garden success has indicated the importance of community support and warned against the trend of relying solely on "champion teachers" to spearhead school garden spaces (Burt et al., 2019). These findings suggest that ongoing investment in staff, funding, training, and resources is necessary to ensure long-term success of garden-based education programs. Our results confirm the need for professional development opportunities on creating and managing school growing spaces and engaging students in garden-based instruction to achieve learning outcomes.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Results from our study add to the body of knowledge about school garden prevalence and use to support instruction in K–12 education settings. Our findings suggest that school growing spaces are used to support agricultural and science learning experiences but are underutilized spaces for teaching real-world applications of technology and engineering. On the basis of our results and an examination of trends in K–12 education policy, we suggest that a unique opportunity exists for Extension to strengthen and expand STEM education in outdoor learning spaces.

Over the past 15 years, concern about increasing obesity rates has led to policy decisions and youth garden/food education programs largely focused on improving student health and reducing childhood obesity (Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, 2004; Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, 2010). Such efforts, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm-to-School program, aim to increase the availability of local food in school lunch programs and support hands-on agricultural and nutrition education in school garden spaces.

Extension is a valuable partner in furthering agricultural and health education efforts in school gardens. Extension program personnel have created and evaluated curriculum and educator professional development to support nutrition and plant science education (Cater et al., 2012; Vierregger et al., 2015; Welsh et al., 1999) and deliver local school garden programming (Benson, 2014; Griffin, 2019). The association between strong networks of community support and school garden success (Burt et al., 2019) further substantiates the role Extension can play in supporting garden-based nutrition and agricultural education to address childhood obesity, health, and nutrition needs.

Similar to K–12 education policy shifts in response to obesity concerns, the anticipated demand for a 21st century STEM workforce has increased calls for STEM preparedness in U.S. K–12 education. With this shift, there is increasing support for students to receive computer science (CS) instruction (K–12 Computer Science Framework Steering Committee, 2016), and accessible and age-appropriate computing education resources have become widely available (Wilson, 2013). Despite the relevance of CS in every facet of modern life, CS education resources largely focus on building video games, creating art, or solving online puzzles rather than creating or applying technologies to solve meaningful real-world problems such as school garden challenges.

In much the same way that school garden spaces provide meaningful contexts in nutrition and agricultural education, gardens can support CS education initiatives. Increasing access to school growing spaces and affordable sensors and other modern agricultural technologies provides new opportunities to merge CS education with garden-based learning. Students can develop CS knowledge and skills through engineering technology-rich solutions to tackle authentic garden challenges. Such efforts support career exploration by expanding student understanding of CS beyond building video games and solving puzzles.

Extension is well suited to lead the integration of CS education into garden-based learning. As a trusted developer of curriculum materials and professional development experiences, Extension has a successful track record of contributing to CS education initiatives through 4-H robotics competitions (Barker & Ansorge, 2006; Barker et al., 2010) and curricula that focus on wearable technology (Keshwani et al., 2016). In addition, Extension's interdisciplinary nature allows content experts in agricultural technology and engineering to work directly with youth education experts to design learning experiences that help students connect with modern agricultural engineering challenges to increase efficiency and conserve natural resources.

Garden-based CS programs may afford a multitude of benefits for both K–12 students and Extension. Such programming would potentially diversify youth participation in both 4-H robotics and Extension-supported school garden programs. Combined with the growing prevalence of school gardens in Nebraska and across the nation, there is potential for gardens to not only support positive health and nutrition outcomes but also provide authentic settings for students to gain valuable CS knowledge and skills that will enhance STEM preparation and broaden awareness of STEM career pathways.

Author Note

We wish to thank the following individuals for their assistance in crafting our survey and helping us contact school-affiliated garden educators across the state: Sarah Smith with Nebraska Department of Education's Farm-to-School Program, Kim Larson and Jan Handa with Nebraska Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Sandra Renner and Kristin Bailey with Center for Rural Affairs, and Matt Kreifels with University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications department. We also wish to extend our sincere gratitude to survey participants for their willingness to share site details as well as their insights and experiences.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Erin Ingram. Email:


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Nebraska School Gardens Needs Assessment
Research Participant Informed Consent Form (IRB#20181018719EX)

Purpose of Research: The purpose of this research is to gather information about Nebraska school gardens and other growing spaces in order to support creation, management, and use of these spaces. Information gained from this survey will be used to guide garden-based curriculum development and provide Nebraska school gardens with additional support. You are invited to participate in this research if you are 19 years of age, live in Nebraska, and have knowledge of school-affiliated garden spaces in your area.

Specific Procedures to be Used: You will be asked to answer closed- and open-ended questions about school-affiliated garden spaces in your area. You will be asked to provide limited demographic information. Providing this information is entirely voluntary.

Duration of Participation: This survey will take approximately 5-20 minutes to complete. This length may be shorter or longer depending on your location, experiences, and input.

Risks: There are no known risks or discomfort associated with this research.

Benefits: By participating in this research, you will have the opportunity to share your experience and knowledge of your local school-affiliated garden spaces. Findings from this study will be shared with educators, administrators, curriculum developers, government agencies, and non-profit organizations that support school garden efforts in Nebraska, to inform development of garden-based resources and tools.

Incentive: No monetary incentive will be offered for participating in this study.

Freedom to Withdraw: Participation in this study is voluntary. You can refuse to participate or withdraw at any time without harming your relationship with the researchers or the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, or in any other way receive a penalty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

Confidentiality: This survey was developed and implemented using Qualtrics Survey Software. Their privacy policy can be found at No information identifying you to the research results will be published. Your responses will be kept confidential on secure server with password protection. Responses will be destroyed five (5) years after completion of the study. Results from this study may be published in scientific journals or presented at scientific meetings but identifying information of participants will not appear in any written report or presentation.

Opportunity to Ask Questions: You may ask any questions concerning this research by contacting Erin Ingram (402-318-2319 or or Jenny Keshwani (402-472-9614 or If you would like to speak to someone else, please call the Research Compliance Services Office at (402) 472-6965 or

Q1: Consent: You are voluntarily making a decision whether or not to participate in this research study. By clicking on the "I Agree" button below, you agree that you are 19 years of age or older and consent to participate. For future reference, you should print or save a copy of this consent form for your records.

□ I Agree

□ I Do Not Agree

Q2: Contact information

Your name ________________________________________________

Email address ______________________________________________

Q3: Which of the following best describes your role?

□ Teacher

□ School administrator

□ Other school staff

□ Parent volunteer

□ Community volunteer

□ Non-profit support organization

□ Other support organization (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q4: School information

School name __________________________________________

School address _________________________________________

School city ____________________________________________

School zip code _________________________________________

County ________________________________________________

School district ___________________________________________

School enrollment (best estimate) ____________________________

Q5: School type

□ Public

□ Private

Q6: Can we add your information to our Nebraska school garden database?

Contact information in the database will be used to disseminate curriculum resources and information about available support for school gardens in Nebraska. If you wish to withdraw from the registry at any time, you may submit your request via email to

□ Yes, I would like to add my information to the school gardens database.

□ No, I would not like to add my information to the school gardens database.

Q7: Has your school ever had a garden or other growing space (greenhouse, community garden, aquaponics, tower gardens, etc.)?

□ Yes

□ No

Q8: Please choose all applicable reasons that best describe why your school does not have access to a school garden or other growing space.

□ Lack of financial support

□ Lack of gardening expertise

□ Lack of staff

□ Lack of volunteers

□ Lack of ability to care for garden during summer months

□ Not enough interest in having a garden

□ Lack of instructional materials

□ Inadequate space on school grounds

□ Lack of access to water

□ Increased risk of vandalism or liability

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q9: Does your school currently have a garden or other growing space (greenhouse, community garden, aquaponics, tower gardens, etc.)?

□ Yes

□ No

Q10: How interested are you in gaining access to a school garden or other growing spaces?

□ Extremely interested

□ Very interested

□ Moderately interested

□ Slightly interested

□ Not at all interested

Q11: Can you provide a reason for why the garden or growing space is no longer utilized? (Select all that apply.)

□ Loss of garden leader(s)

□ Loss of volunteers

□ Loss of access to the growing space (e.g. school renovations, parking lot, etc.)

□ Lack of funding for continued garden management

□ Loss of interest

□ Lack of gardening expertise

□ Issues with plant health (e.g. insect pests, disease, poor soil, etc.)

□ Issue with groundskeeper(s)

□ Unknown reason(s)

□ Other (Please elaborate.) ________________________________________________

Q12: How long has the school garden or other growing space been operating? (when was it first created)

□ < 1 year

□ 1-3 years

□ 4-6 years

□ 7-9 years

□ ≥ 10 years

□ I don't know

Q13: Did your school receive funding to support creating/starting your growing space? (Please do not include continuing funds for management or staff.)

□ Yes (Please specify funding amounts and/or funding sources if possible.) _______________

□ No

Q14: How would you describe your school garden? (Select all that apply.)

□ In planters/pots/containers

□ In raised beds in one or more areas

□ In the ground in one or more areas

□ Greenhouse

□ Hoop house

□ Off school campus (Please specify location.) ______________________________

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q15: What types of plants exist/will be grown in your school garden this academic year? (Select all that apply.)

□ Vegetables

□ Herbs

□ Fruits

□ Nuts

□ Nebraska native plants

□ Ornamentals (any non-edible plants)

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q16: Which of the following features does your school garden have? (Select all that apply.)

□ Compost area

□ Worm bin

□ Man-made wildlife habitat (e.g. bird bath, bird feeder, bird or bat houses, bee nesting block, etc.)

□ Pond or water feature

□ Tool shed/storage area

□ Weather station

□ Food prep/kitchen area

□ Sinks

□ Outdoor teaching area (e.g. benches, tables, etc.)

□ Interpretive signage

□ Rain barrel

□ Solar panels

□ Automated irrigation

□ Greenhouse

□ Domestic animals (e.g. chickens, ducks, rabbits, etc.)

Q17: Is the school garden or other growing space used to support student learning?

□ Yes

□ No

Q18: Which, if any, of the following are barriers to student learning in the garden? (Select all that apply.)

□ Lack of garden-based instructional resources

□ Lack of standards-aligned learning in the garden

□ Lack of professional development or training opportunities in garden-based learning

□ Lack of instructional time

□ Concern that students may harm or disturb garden plants

□ Concern about student behavior in the garden

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q19: When is the garden used to support student learning? (Select all that apply.)

□ During class instruction time

□ During recess

□ After school

□ Before school

□ Summer program/camp

□ Non-school community uses

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q20: Who teaches students in the garden? (Select all that apply.)

□ Paid school staff (e.g. garden coordinator, afterschool staff, etc.)

□ Paid non-school staff (e.g. Americorps, non-profit, etc.)

□ School teachers

□ Older students (buddy teaching)

□ Master gardeners

□ Parent volunteers

□ College interns/volunteers

□ Other community volunteers

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q21: Which grade level(s) participate in garden programming for student learning at your school? (Select all that apply.)

□ Pre-K

□ Kindergarten

□ First

□ Second

□ Third

□ Fourth

□ Fifth

□ Sixth

□ Seventh

□ Eighth

□ Ninth

□ Tenth

□ Eleventh

□ Twelfth

Q22: What percentage of your school's students do you estimate visit the garden for formal classroom instruction per academic year?

□ 10%

□ 20%

□ 30%

□ 40%

□ 50%

□ 60%

□ 70%

□ 80%

□ 90%

□ 100%

Q23: Which of the following core subjects are taught using the school garden? (Select all that apply.)

□ Math

□ Science

□ History/Social Studies

□ English-Language Arts

Q24: Which of the following non-core subjects are taught using the garden? (Select all that apply.)

□ Agricultural studies

□ Art

□ Business/Entrepreneurship

□ Computer technology

□ Environmental studies

□ Foreign language

□ Health/Nutrition

□ Family and Consumer Sciences/Culinary Arts

□ Physical education

□ Special education

□ Service Learning/Community Service

□ Other (Please specify.)

Q25: Which educational resources and materials are used to teach in the school garden?

□ Textbooks

□ Trade books (fiction or non-fiction literature)

□ Garden-based curriculum (Please specify. e.g. Junior Master Gardeners; Learn, Grow, Eat, Go; etc.) ________________________________________________

□ Nature-based curriculum (Please specify. e.g. Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, etc.) ________________________________________________

□ Self-created lesson plans

□ Resources received at workshops or seminars

□ Websites

□ Other- Please specify. ________________________________________________

Q26: What is done with plants or food grown in the garden? (Select all that apply.)

□ Used in school lunch

□ Used for academic study

□ Sold

□ Donated

□ Composted

□ Harvested and eaten during garden time

□ Harvested and eaten during other school time activities (e.g. classroom tastings, cafeteria tastings)

□ Harvested and eaten during activities out-of-school activities (e.g. PTO meetings, school board meetings, etc.)

Q27: When plants or food from the school garden are sold, is this associated with any student business venture?

□ Yes (Please elaborate.) ________________________________________________

□ No

Q28: Would you define your school garden as part of Farm to School programming? (Farm to School programs connect schools with local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education, and supporting Nebraska's farmers.)

□ Yes

□ No

□ I don't know

□ I hadn't heard of Farm to School until now

Q29: Are there any paid staff that manage the garden or teach in the garden outside of classroom teachers? Select yes if there are any (school or non-school) support staff that receive any types of funds for garden programming.

□ Yes

□ No

Q30: What is the hourly pay rate range for paid (non-classroom teacher) garden support staff?
(If you have more than one paid staff, list the highest paid staff. If garden staff is paid an annual stipend, please estimate hours worked per year to come up with an hourly rate.)

□ $1-5/hour

□ $6-10/hour

□ $11-15/hour

□ $16-20/hour

□ $21-25/hour

□ $26-30/hour

□ $30-35/hour

□ $35/hour

Q31: During the academic year, on average, how many hours per week do paid staff (non-classroom teachers) work/teach in the garden? (For multiple staff, please list separately.)






Q32: In the past three years, what types of garden-based professional development have educators at your school received? (Select all that apply.)

□ None

□ On-site school-sponsored workshop

□ Off-site workshop

□ Conferences or seminars

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q33: Which of the following school garden topics would you attend or like to see offered in your area? (Select all that apply.)

□ Gardening skills

□ Outdoor classroom management

□ Garden-based instruction

□ Other (Please specify topic.) ________________________________________________

Q34: Has your school conducted program evaluation or assessment for your school garden program in the past five years?

□ Yes

□ No

Q35: During the last academic year, what was your total annual school garden budget (including staff and materials)?


Q36: During the last academic year, how was your funding divided?

Garden materials (e.g. tools, plants, hardscaping, etc.) _______

Professional development (e.g. workshops, curriculum, etc.) _______

Maintenance staff _______

Instruction staff _______

Other (Please specify resources.) _______

Total _______

Q37: During the last academic year, what were the funding sources for your school garden program? (Select all that apply.)

□ School or district funds

□ Individual donations

□ Community/business donations

□ Grants

□ PTA/PTO funds

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q38: During the last academic year, with which of the following support organizations did your school garden program partner or collaborate? (Select all that apply.)

□ Non-profit organizations

□ After school programs

□ University or college partnerships

□ Local businesses

□ Local farms

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q39: Please indicate which of the following have had a role in starting or continuing to manage in your school garden.

Starting the garden Summer management (weeding, watering, etc.) Fall or Spring management (planning, prep, planting, etc.)
Master Gardeners
Parent volunteers
College interns
Other volunteers
Paid garden staff
Paid non-school support organization staff
Classroom teachers
Custodial or grounds staff
Other (Please specify.)

Q40: Which of the following positive observations have you made in your school garden participants? (Select all that apply.)

□ Increased environmental attitudes

□ Increased community spirit

□ Increased self-confidence

□ Increased social skills/behaviors

□ Increased leadership skills

□ Improved attitude toward school

□ Sense of volunteerism

□ Improvements in health and nutrition

□ Improved motor skills

□ Academic gains

□ Other (Please specify.) ________________________________________________

Q41: Describe any negative observations that you have seen in your school garden participants.





Q42: Please rate the importance of the following potential benefits in your school garden.

Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not at all important
Learning opportunities for core subjects (math, science, language arts, etc.)
Increasing environmental attitudes
Improving attitude toward school
Increasing fruit and vegetable intake
Trying new foods
Improving social/emotional health
Improving social skills
Improving decision-making skills
Improving health and nutrition
Increasing awareness of careers (agriculture, horticulture, culinary arts, food service, etc.)
Growing food for the school cafeteria
Growing food for community distribution (e.g. food pantry)
Improving community engagement
Beautifying school grounds

Q43: Please rate the importance of the following potential challenges in your school garden.

Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not at all important
Managing an aesthetically pleasing garden space
Finding and securing continued garden funding
Supporting student learning and engagement
Maintaining a good relationship with groundskeeper(s)
Engaging community members
Minimizing noise or other disruptions
Minimizing risk and liability

Q44: Please rate how important each of the following factors/resources would be in supporting the school garden as an academic instructional tool.

Extremely important Very important Moderately important Slightly important Not at all important
Access to standards-aligned curriculum and materials
Teacher training in gardening skills
Teacher training in garden-based learning instruction
Teacher training in outdoor classroom management
Lesson planning time
Encouragement from administrators to use the garden as an instructional tool
Other (Please specify.)