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The California "Garden in Every School" Story Rose Hayden-Smith Food and Society Policy Fellow University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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Presentation on theme: "The California "Garden in Every School" Story Rose Hayden-Smith Food and Society Policy Fellow University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources."— Presentation transcript:

1 The California "Garden in Every School" Story Rose Hayden-Smith Food and Society Policy Fellow University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources Updated 5/2008

2 Acknowledgements The creation of this presentation would not have been possible without the assistance of Ann Evans, Delaine Eastin, Daniel Desmond, and the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division. This version of the presentation was presented at the Society of Nutrition Educators National Meeting, August 2007, in Chicago, IL

3 Restrictions Use of this presentation, or parts thereof, is expressly prohibited without permission of the author. For permission to use portions of this presentation, please contact the author at

4 A Big State

5 Home to about 36 million people Slightly younger population than national average Number of public schools: 9,223 Number of students enrolled: 6,298,774

6 A Big State Ag is big, too: CA has been the nation's top agricultural state in cash receipts every year since 1948 – and this is an important part of the dynamic behind the school gardening movement

7 Big Challenges About one in three children and one in four teens in California is estimated to be overweight (2007 CA Childhood Obesity Conference) Ag land is disappearing at a rapid rate Children don’t know where their food comes from Children don’t always have access to healthy food

8 Big Ideas Develop public policy that encourages instructional gardens in public schools and improves pupil nutrition Leadership – Bi-partisan, legislative, agency Public-private partnerships


10 School Garden Policy in California Assembly Bill 1535 (AB 1535) primary topic today AB 1535 institutionalizes school gardens as instructional tools and a way to improve pupil nutrition AB 1535 is the culmination of ongoing efforts; built on earlier success AB 1535 is optional and encouraged, not mandated (i.e., soft legislation)

11 Assembly Bill 1535 Target Audience: All public schools in California (grades K-12) Coordinated by the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division Funded by the State of California Many collaborators to advocate for program and provide support to school gardening efforts (public-private partnership)

12 Assembly Bill 1535 Passed by CA legislature Fall 2006 Provides $15M to CA public schools for instructional gardens Non-competitive grants Funding 2007-09 (3 years) $2500 1000 students Money can be used in a variety of ways

13 Philosophies “You have to bring them along with you.” One size doesn’t fit all.

14 Precursors California Junior Gardener Program United States School Garden Army Environmental movement School ag programs CA’s Strong farm-to-school movement (Berkeley, Davis, Ventura, Santa Monica, etc.)


16 Precursors: A Garden in Every School Initiative Gardening conference in Bay Area in 1993 California School Garden Initiative 1994 through California Department of Education (CDE Nutrition Services Division): Delaine Eastin Tools developed to support the initiative Has evolved and changed over time from an initiative and movement to a funded piece of soft legislation: AB 1535

17 Garden in Every School Initiative Purpose: Create opportunities for schools to provide dynamic environments that support student mastery of educational standards. Students who participate in school garden projects also discover fresh food and make healthier food choices, and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the environment, the community, and each other.

18 CDE Tools to Support Efforts Free packet of garden start-up information Funded garden-enhanced nutrition projects through mini-grants Some training provided to school staff Previously created regional resource center network to provide support for teachers

19 CDE Tools to Support Efforts Support for development and/or publication of educational materials related to school gardens. – “A Child’s Garden of Standards” – link to core academic subjects – “Nutrition to Grow On” – nutrition education – “Growing Healthy Kids” – literature and standards-based nutrition education – “Kids Cook Farm Fresh Food!” – ecology and stewardship – developed with a grant from Alice Waters…unlike other food books – developed palates

20 Impacts of Initiative (pre-AB 1535) Really caught the imagination and took hold – a lot of energy surrounding this Led to innovative models, larger-themed and multi- issue programs such as farm-to-school, etc. Provided a model for AB 1535: visible impacts, networks of relationships (public-private), synergy Response was there: more than 1/3 of schools participated

21 Impacts of Initiative (pre-AB 1535) 1995: Estimated that 1,000 of the approximately 8,000 public schools in CA had school gardens 2003: Estimated that about 3,000 of the approximately 9,100 public schools had school gardens Heavily weighted to school gardens in K-6 Partnerships developed among agencies with aligned purposes

22 Some Philosophies/Practices Developed Meet people where they are Didn’t try to overcome resistance, work where people wanted to participate Time was well spent with early adopters; some fence-sitters saw the models developed there and got on board Policy makers came on board later in the process Gardens easy to start in K-6, and much effort was placed there

23 Timeline 1993 – Bay Area Garden Conference 1994 – Garden in Every School Initiative 2005 – California School Garden Network 2006 – AB 1535 Signed (September) 2007 – AB 1535 grants due; funds roll out (April, Fall 2007)

24 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info $10.8M of $15M available money requested in first funding cycle 44% of funds requested for equipment 36% requested for supplies (including plants and educational resources) 19% requested for professional development Only.76% in indirect costs

25 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info 3,827 sites awarded funds (3,827/9,727) – 52% of eligible agencies, i.e., County Offices of Education, School Districts, Direct Charter Schools (771/1500) – 39.3% of eligible sites applied (consistent with initiative participation) 3,327 Sites at $2500 500 sites at $5000

26 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info Participation varied by region (groups of counties)…but not significantly – Highest: 65% Region 1 (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma) – Lowest: 24% Region 10 (Inland Empire – Inyo, Mono, Riverside, San Bernardino) – Los Angeles County: 41.7% of sites applied (823/1975)

27 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info Nearly 50% of the funding will flow to Central and Southern California $2.6M alone to Los Angeles County (24% of total funding)

28 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info Total number of elementary school classes potentially served: 14,258 Total number of middle/junior high level classes potentially served: 3,125 Total number of high school level classes potentially served: 2,326

29 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info Grants will support: – Development of new gardens (2179) – Sustained use of existing gardens (1622) – Expansion of existing garden (1383) – Revitalization of garden not currently in use (927)

30 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info Gardens will be used for instruction during: – Academic class time (2607) – After-school program (2470) – Lunch/Recess (1979) – Before school program (453)

31 Assembly Bill 1535: Early Info Gardens will be used to teach fourteen subjects, ranging from science to music and foreign language Gardens will grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, native plants, fruits, wildlife habitat, nuts

32 Potential Challenges Supporting need created (training/prof development) – how are we going to do it? Assessing impacts Encouraging implementation of plans, i.e., helping recipients utilize funds and deliver Sustaining public-private partnerships that provide underlying structure

33 CA Resources to Support AB 1535 Leadership: Current Superintendent of Schools STRONGLY supports school gardens, as does Secretary of Ag, First Lady, Assembly Speaker Leadership: CDE Growing interest in sustainable food systems, school salad bars, cafeteria reform, organics, school wellness, etc., aligns with AB 1535 New models!!! California School Garden Network (CSGN)

34 California School Garden Network The California School Garden Network is a collaborative effort of a number of educational institutions, non-profit organizations, private and government partners committed to enhancing learning through the use of teaching gardens in schools and other community settings.

35 California School Garden Network Gardening with children has the potential to improve academic performance, increase ecological literacy, and improve dietary habits of children.

36 California School Garden Network CSGN's website is the most comprehensive collection of resources to support school gardening in California. In addition CSGN's publications and partner organizations provide a wealth of resources to create and sustain school gardens in California.

37 California School Garden Network Western Growers has provided funding – Nation’s leading ag trade association – CA/AZ growers – 3,000 members grow, pack and ship 90 percent of the fresh vegetables and nearly 70 percent of the fresh fruit and nuts grown in Arizona and California, about one-half of the nation’s fresh produce.

38 Summary AB 1535 early returns indicate an enormous interest and success; this is worth replicating “Soft” legislation – encourages voluntary participation Precursors laid foundation Public-private partnership instrumental Timing was right to fund the program

39 Summary Issues have grown more complex (childhood obesity, food security, nature deficit, considering gardening within larger food system, etc.) Still great needs Opportunities with AB 1535 to expand more fully into service for middle and high-school aged youth Need to encourage home and community gardening to supplement school opportunities and create a truly sustainable food system

40 Summary AB 1535 ends in 2009 – need to create a permanent funding stream Some impacts will take time to play out and assess In some ways, a leap of faith – sheer magnitude of program, flexibility, speed of roll out, etc.

41 Summary AB 1535 is a remarkable piece of legislation It is model legislation that should be replicated across the nation Yet…it amounts to only about $2.50 per student Do we need to have higher expectations? How would those translate to public policy?

42 Resources CSGN California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom http://www.cfaitc.org Junior Master Gardener Program LifeLab http://www.lifelab.org National Gardening Association

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