Healthy Works School Gardens
In schools and neighborhoods across the country, gardens have
become a powerful tool for promoting learning, healthy living,
environmental stewardship, and social connections. Research shows
that students who participate in school garden programs score
higher on academic tests and consume more fruits and vegetables.
School gardens that are actively supported by a community are more
apt to flourish and provide a dynamic classroom for students,
teachers, and staff. Cities with community gardens report a boost
in property values, neighborhood pride, and social connectivity.
Residents in these cities have greater access to healthy,
affordable foods and an opportunity to participate in city
Yet even though school and community gardens offer far-reaching
benefits, keeping them thriving can be challenging. Schools often
rely on the support of garden "champions" to keep gardens going,
but when these key supporters leave, the garden goes fallow.
Neighborhood residents seeking to establish community gardens often
face complicated zoning regulations and high land costs,
insurmountable barriers in even the most supportive communities.
Establishing community gardens on school property- so-called joint
use gardens, where the school uses some plots and community
residents use others - provides an innovative solution to
developing and sustaining school and community gardens.
By supporting community/school partnerships to establish
joint-use garden projects, Healthy WorksSM is not only
enhancing garden sustainability but also ensuring that gardens
endure as long-term resources for both schools and neighborhood
residents. Healthy WorksSM staff are collaborating with
school districts throughout San Diego County to encourage the
systems and environmental changes needed for this undertaking:
- Wellness policy amendments that acknowledge the health, social,
and academic benefits gardens can offer schools and community
- Joint-use agreements that partner community agencies with
schools to help develop, manage, and maintain a school/community
- Community partnerships and volunteer support that can assist
schools in creating viable school garden programs;
- Integration of gardening activities and garden-grown produce
into classrooms, after-school programs, and school meals.
The Healthy Works School Gardens page
includes resources on the following:
Joint Use & School-Community Gardens | Garden to Cafeteria
Joint Use Resources
Growing numbers of schools across the country are recognizing
the important role that school gardens play in reducing childhood
obesity and creating a successful learning environment. Food
service professionals, in particular, are creating innovative
partnerships with parents, teachers, and school administrators to
include school-grown produce in cafeteria meals. The following
documents are to serve as resources for information on the use of
school garden-grown produce in the school cafeteria. The
documents below include research supporting school gardens, food
safety guidelines, successful garden to cafeteria protocols, and
For further information, please contact JuliAnna Arnett, Senior
Manager for the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, a
program facilitated by Community Health Improvement Partners
at 858.609.7962 or email.
Made possible by funding from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, through the County of San Diego.