Kids Growing

Kids Growing, our elementary school program, operates during the school day and uses gardening and food activities to support learning objectives. From planting a tiny seed to making fresh pesto, children’s exploration of nature and healthy food is at the heart of this program. The gardens are dynamic classrooms for vibrant hands-on learning in many subject areas. Volunteers and staff ensure that outdoor programs are accessible and safe for teachers to bring their classes, and help teachers learn more about school gardening.

Details & Participating Sites

Urban Roots Youth

Urban Roots Youth, our after-school and summer youth program, teaches youth the techniques of growing food in small spaces. The youth help maintain the school gardens, compost and rainwater catchment systems, and sell produce at a local market. In summer, they provide recreational programs for young children in the gardens. They have opportunities for paid work through student summer jobs and in our social enterprise gardening on private lands.

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Grownups Gardening

Grownups Gardening is our community engagement program, engaging parents in our partner schools and other community members. They join as members and volunteers, and may attend free monthly skills-building workshops, take plants and food home, earn certificates and honoraria. Our volunteers are key to high-quality Kids Growing programs, as they increase the adult-child ratio and allow each child to get hands-on experience. Volunteers are offered free membership.

Garden Care

Our social enterprise will garden at your home or workplace. Our expertise is in permaculture design, organic edible and native ornamental gardening, and we’ll teach you how to maintain your own garden & compost.

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Workshops & Consultations

Learn how to start and maintain your own school garden. We run workshops in conjunction with teachers’ organizations and teacher education programs, and cover varied subject matter including integration of art, language, math and technology into garden programs.

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Imagine a Garden In Every School

Green Thumbs is at the forefront of garden-based elementary education in Ontario, and helps teachers and families to start food gardens in their schools. Across the province people are doing great work to create school food gardens and connect children and youth to food and their environment. The goal of the “Imagine a Garden In Every School” campaign is to link us together, to share resources, ideas and experience, and to make it easier for people across Ontario to start and maintain school food gardens.

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Summer Programs

Summer programs are critically important in the school garden since summer maintenance is often a barrier to success. Active programming with a focus on play, nutrition, and games turns the garden into a summer camp destination, providing healthy outdoor activities for low or no cost.

The goal of the summer programs are a) getting the harvested food in the hands and mouths of those who need it, and b) providing employment to youth with a long-term goal of fostering good green jobs for youth.

Here’s a lovely booklet put together by Anna from Summer 2012 staff.