Back

Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

Planning a Successful School & Community Garden Program

Plan, organize and develop a successful and sustainable gardening program.

Planning a Successful School & Community Garden Program is one of nine online courses we offer in our Horticulture Distance Learning Program.

Next course: June 27 to August 16, 2024

About the course

This 6-week course (7.5 weeks including the introductory week and a holiday break) focuses on the foundations and benefits of garden-based learning, and provides the tools, resources, and collaborative support needed to plan, organize, and develop a successful and sustainable gardening program that fits your organization’s needs.

Upon completion of this course, participants will:

  • Understand the foundations of garden-based learning and its benefits.
  • Explore and identify available resources, case studies, research, and successful school and community-based garden programs.
  • Utilize logic models to identify program inputs, activities, and desired outcomes.
  • Use real world tools to practice and develop a garden-based learning program in alignment with program needs.
  • Build a toolbox of resources and portfolio of program planning, deliverables, and strategies for sustainability.
  • Utilize strategies to organize a community of volunteers and identify leadership.

This online course teaches the benefits of garden-based learning, and through successful completion of course learning activities, provides the steps in building a portfolio and toolbox of program planning, lesson plans, deliverables, and strategies for program sustainability.

This online class is asynchronous and self-paced in its design, where single topics are opened each week, and build upon each other. Participants complete assigned lessons and readings, watch videos, participate in online group discussions, do hands-on activities, and submit assignments and reflective journals. Most students spend approximately 5 hours each week with the content, however more time may be needed to explore additional resources added each week.

The course is non-credit, and we present a certificate of completion to all those who participate in the whole course. 

Introductory Week: Welcome & Introduction

  • Week 1: Growing Your Planning Team; Community Partnerships
  • Week 2: Developing Garden Program Goals Using Logic Models
  • Week 3: Tapping Your Community Resources
  • Week 4: Evaluation and Assessment; Building Your Curriculum Toolbox
  • Week 5: Creating Sustainable Gardens; Finding Funding
  • Week 6: Project Portfolio; Next Steps

Break week: July 4-7

Instructor: Donna Alese Cooke dmc72 [at] cornell.edu (dmc72[at]cornell[dot]edu)

Purpose

This course is perfect for educators, program staff, volunteers, volunteer coordinators or anyone wanting to develop a community garden, school garden, or garden-based learning program for youth, adults, or people with disabilities in their local community, school, Cooperative Extension, or after-school program.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will:

  • Understand the foundations of garden-based learning and its benefits.
  • Explore and identify available resources, case studies, research, and successful school and community-based garden programs.
  • Utilize logic models to identify program inputs, activities, and desired outcomes.
  • Use real world tools to practice and develop a garden-based learning program in alignment with program needs.
  • Build a toolbox of resources and portfolio of program planning, deliverables, and strategies for sustainability.
  • Utilize strategies to organize a community of volunteers and identify leadership.

Course Philosophy

This course is designed to enrich the practice of community-based gardening in schools and communities, for children, youth, and adult audiences, and to encourage a network of state and nation-wide educators, volunteers and communities who will learn and grow together.

Approach

Using a logic model approach to program development, this online course teaches methods and strategies on planning, organizing, and developing a successful and sustainable school and/or community gardening program.

Participants will connect with and learn from others with the same purpose, and by the end of this course, will become a more confident and knowledgeable garden-based learning educators and program organizers. 

Expectations

Given the flexible nature of the distance learning environment, it is easy to fall behind and lose out on what could be a very valuable learning experience for you. Keeping yourself well organized and current with assignments will help you get the most out of this course. 

This course has been designed to be learner-centered, with due dates, deadlines and self-evaluation exercises put in place to help keep you on track. Stated simply, you will get from the course what you put into it.

Supplies

A computer with reliable high-speed Internet access (to view videos, view readings, submit assignments, and participate regularly in discussion forums).