Garden of the Month: January 2016

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in The Seedling BLOG | 0 comments

Garden of the Month: January 2016

Welcome to Outdoor Classrooms Garden of the Month. From backyards to schoolyards, we want to find the Outdoor Classrooms, Children’s Gardens & Community Programs that are cultivating wonder, curiosity and playful learning. Our January Spotlight Garden is The National Garden Program and the Global Garden Exchange called SLOW FOODI would like to welcome and introduce, National Garden Program Manager, Lauren Howe. She is here today to share the Slow Food story. 


Growing Community in School Gardens

Locally and Globally

Slow Food is a global, grassroots network with a holistic mission of “Good, Clean and Fair Food for All.” Although our roots are in Italy, today we work in 150+ countries around the world as a movement of farmers, chefs, activists, artisans, scientists, policy makers and foodies. Our volunteers and supporters gather around the table to balance joy with justice and culinary pleasure with environmental responsibility. Together, we want to create a better world through food, with an emphasis on biodiversity and traditional and regional foodways.

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Bankoko Primary School in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Part of building the Slow Food movement includes educating children and empowering them to make healthy and sustainable food choices. To achieve this goal, Slow Food USA’s National School Garden Program (NSGP) aims to reconnect youth with their food by teaching them how to grow, cook, and enjoy real food. To achieve this, we grow community around school gardens by providing technical assistance, resources like professional development and curriculum, and partnerships to cultivate the next generation of healthy eaters of Good, Clean and Fair food.

This sense of community takes many forms, whether it’s the garden committee at an individual school or a network of statewide partners. And because community can go well beyond the four walls of a school and may even cross state or country lines, we are excited to launch the Global Garden Exchange (GGE), an international email pen-pal program that connects schools across cultures.

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Bongoyo Primary School in Tanzania

GGE aims to facilitate cultural exchange and shared learning between youth from school gardens abroad and those in the US. Our hope is that this program can transform young people into global citizens with a sense of empathy, compassion, responsibility, and interconnectedness. Participating teachers are able to send and receive emails, photos, and lessons learned with their “sister garden.” Topics of conversation may include culture, food, hobbies, family life, and of course gardening. This program could turn into a traditional recipe swap, an opportunity for students to build their foreign language skills, or perhaps lifelong friendships and travel abroad. The possibilities are endless!

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Watoto Foundation in Tanzania

We launched this program in December 2015 and have already paired 18 schools from 6 countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, and Macedonia. And we want YOU to join us! If you are an interested teacher with a school garden, please fill out the application. Any questions? Email

Now we want to hear from you. What inspired you about this garden program? Do you have a garden program or outdoor classroom? Come share your story with Victoria Hackett !

Happy New Year!

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