Madison Area School Gardens

Overview of the Gardener in Residence program

 Do you have a school garden that is under-utilized?  Are you a teacher who simply doesn't have the capacity to incorporate outdoor learning into your classroom routine?  Let us help you!

The Gardener-in-Residence Program includes development and staffing  for existing school gardens.  Community  GroundWorks (CGW) will provide an experienced  garden educator to serve as the gardener-in-residence (GiR) instructor.  The GiR will lead  weekly outdoor gardening sessions and support school staff to utilize the garden as a dynamic outdoor learning environment.  In each gardening session, the GiR will lead students in growing and harvesting food based on teacher’s curricular needs and the growing season.

The GiR will coordinate with teachers, volunteers, and the Parent/Teacher Organization (if applicable) to ensure broad student access to the garden.

Your school’s gardener-in-residence will manage the garden from April through October, and ensure that it is well-maintained throughout the growing season.  CGW will provide the following garden supplies: seeds and seedlings, potting soil, compost, wood chips, and mulch.

What will I get from a Gardener in Residence (GiR) Program?

  • 10 hours per week for an experienced garden educator to lead weekly garden sessions with your students in spring and fall.
  • A presentation at an all-school assembly to generate excitement about your school garden among staff and students.
  • Garden supplies to include seeds, potting soil, compost, wood chips, and mulch.
  • A well managed and productive school garden throughout the growing season.
  • Support for your school staff to use the garden to facilitate classroom learning.
  • Help coordinating annual spring and fall school garden workdays as needed.

How much does it cost?

Each school’s needs vary.  Services and fees may vary based on the specific plan created for your school.  The following cost estimate is based on average garden size and services described above:

Spring:     $3,000 (includes one day of garden education each week)
Summer:  $   500              (includes garden maintenance)
Fall:         $2,500 (includes one day of garden education each week)

Where will I get funding from to pay for a GiR program?

  • Get creative!  Some possibilities include:
    • grants,
    • PTG allocation,
    • school fundraiser,
    • partnering with your after-school program,
    • community partners and/or businesses who want to support healthy food initiatives in schools.
Questions?  Contact Ginny Hughes at