Slow Food USA led the first national project promoting School Gardens in 2001. Members built vegetable gardens on school grounds where children could grow their own food, develop horticultural skills and stimulate their senses.
An Educational Committee was even set up to launch the project nationwide, and in just two years 30 school gardens sprang up around the US. Entitled ‘Garden-to-Table', the project has since expanded to include after-school cooking programs and farm tours.
Soon after the initiative became popular in Europe as well. At the International Slow Food Congress in 2003 it was decided that every convivium in the world should work to set up School Garden projects, and later in 2006 at the Slow Food Italy National Congress in Sanremo it was resolved to create 100 gardens in Italy.
Today in Italy more than 125 school gardens are part of the national program "Garden in Convivium" that includes a 3-year curriculum on sensory, consumer, environmental education, as well as lessons on food culture and knowledge of the territory. Schoolteachers are trained to carry out the program and they work with parents and grandparents to support the children's project.Today there are more than 180 school gardens around the world.
The educational themes of the school gardens are similar, however they are adapted to the culture and territory of each country. Slow Food views all schools with gardens as part of the same large network of learning communities.
School Gardens follow the three fundamental principles of ‘Good, Clean and Fair'.
Good because they are accompanied by workshops that train children and parents to appreciate the sensory qualities of food and to demand quality in school canteens.
Clean because young people learn to use organic and biodynamic production methods, to search for the seeds of local fruit and vegetable varieties, and to reduce food miles by favoring local produce.
Fair because they encourage the passing on of knowledge from one generation to the next, acknowledge the social role of the elderly and of volunteers, valorize the work of farmers, and lead to partnerships with similar projects in developing countries.
- Check out Slow Food USA's educational activites
- Edible School Yard in Canada video
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