a tomás o’grady non-profit
The Garden Ranger Program
A school garden is only as good as it what is growing in it. A garden is only useful to a school if the students are actually using it. Time and time again, we see well intentioned efforts to run an edible school garden program fail because no single person or organization is responsible for the success of the garden. The expertise and experience or even patience is simply not present to repair sprinklers, adjust watering schedules, repel pests, care for plants, trim and troubleshoot. Gardens are left to go fallow during school vacations. Volunteers (often parents or teachers) move on, move schools or in many cases simply give up because of the workload or a feeling of being unappreciated. Timely repair of something as straightforward as a broken water pipe or piece of wood can take as long as six months to be fixed in a school bureaucracy. The garden meanwhile simply dies. Delivery of curriculum (the whole point of the asset in the first place) is inconsistent and often the domain of one or two enthusiastic teachers or parents. Students have little or no consistent window of time when they are welcome to use and enjoy or simply sit in the garden.
With our successful Garden Ranger Program, we are changing all of this. Our affordable garden ranger program….
….has a trained garden ranger consistently on site in the school garden for half a day every week to care for the garden and to deliver our straightforward and cheerful curriculum.
….transfers the responsibility of the garden to us and we supply all materials, seedlings and amendments and teaching supplies.
…. provides a school with a dependable person to repair the garden as needed and care for it over the summer.
How It Generally Works
Our Basic School Garden Curriculum is generally a 6-week cycle, though this is flexible. Our Garden Rangers deliver our interdisciplinary garden-based education program that allows students to learn in a wonderful outdoor classroom – the garden! We deliver a Garden Ranger that spends about 75% of their time teaching and 25% caring for the garden. We supply all seedlings and materials and we fix the garden as needed and we take care of the garden over the summer.
Schools are asked to contribute towards the cost as follows:
Title One Public School contributes $5,175.00
Non Title One Public School contributes $6,900
Non Public School contributes $9,660
Educate & Enjoy
Our Garden Rangers deliver our interdisciplinary garden-based education program that allows students to learn in a wonderful outdoor classroom- the garden! Our program offers students introductory lessons (in a six week rotation) about their school garden. Our program schedule allows all students in K-12 to visit the garden throughout the year and explore the garden and help it grow by being involved in the planting of new seedlings. Throughout, the students care for and maintain the garden. As the ultimate lesson, students learn how they can control the success of the space through their own efforts.
The Garden Ranger is responsible for the garden. Our program takes care of seeds, seedlings, soil, mulch, sprinkler repair, compost and other garden amendments. An edible garden can be troublesome from time to time. Things break! Equipped with a tool kit, our Rangers to the degree possible (edible gardens are often less than pretty) keep the gardens looking good. Looks matter!
Engage & Protect
The Ranger program encourages parent, teacher, student and community involvement. Our rangers also blog about their work every week so parents can see what the school garden is up to and get involved! In addition, we have developed a volunteer-based Parent Ranger position to further engage parents into the school garden!
To ensure the safety of everyone involved, we carry liability insurance, workers compensation and a district approved background check. We cooperate with facilities when safety issues arise. A protected district, is a cooperative district.
EnrichLA’s interdisciplinary, garden-based education program allows students to learn in a wonderful outdoor classroom- the garden! Lessons are adapted for students in grades K-12 and are approximately 40 minutes in length. Our curriculum includes lessons on the following topics.
1) Welcome Gardeners!
2) Let’s Talk Dirt
3) Friends and Foes
4) Climate and Seasons
5) (Edible) Parts of a Plant
6) Harvesting and Culminating Picnic
1) Garden Food Chain
2) Seed Cookies
3) Bee a Friend
4) Compost Relay
5) De-compostable Pots
6) Sustainable Eats
1) A Balanced Plate
2) Whole vs. Processed Foods
3) Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt
4) Food Jobs
5) Food Marketing
6) Reading and Writing Recipes
Arts & Crafts in the Garden
1) Garden Haikus
2) Plant-Based Paints
3) Fruit Vegetable Prints
4) Homemade Tea
6) Creating Nature Boards
Our new Garden Ranger curriculum has been made possible by a generous donation from Whole Kids Foundation + Roots Food.
If you are interested in becoming an EnrichLA Ranger click here!