Home > Projects > Growing Sustainably: Garden Education & Garden Club
students and a facilitator are looking at a tomato plant

Childhood obesity rates are disproportionately high in Santa Clara County, 25% of children were categorized as being overweight or obese in 2016. The nutrition and garden education program engages school age children in activities designed to teach them the importance of living healthy. The program includes garden education during school hours, an after school garden club, and gardening workshops. K-12 students learn science, math, nutrition and other subjects by participating in gardening activities. SJSU students who are trained in garden and nutrition education work with K-12 students, parents and teachers to use the garden as an outdoor living classroom. Lesson plan topics included recycling, tree science, photosynthesis, seed germination, composting, worms, soil components, bees and pollination, greenhouses, climate change, the plant life cycle, and the water cycle. This year’s highlights include expansion to two additional schools, Olinder Elementary and Burnett Middle School, and a field trip to San Jose State’s Associated Students Community Garden. The young students planted tomatoes, learned about the importance of worms and compost, and planted sunflower seeds to take home with them.

By the Numbers | 2019-20

9 SJSU students engaged

209 residents engaged

345 hours of service

$8,786 value

Hundreds of K-6 students ate 18 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, many for the first time

Project Impact

87% of students responded that they like fruits and vegetables because of garden workshop

82% of students responded that they enjoy being outdoors because of garden workshop

Research conducted by SJSU’s Department of Environmental Studies using a treatment and control group shows the program increased pro-environmental attitudes and awareness in 4th grade students

Community Voices

“Students loved the opportunity to get their hands dirty and plant seeds, most of them mentioned they had never planted or even put on gardening gloves before.”
–Alex Dahl, Growing Sustainably Project Coordinator

“In today’s class, the kids were digging holes in the flower beds so that they could plant new crops. All of them loved digging the holes and some even got excited if they saw worms.”
–Elsa Osuna, SJSU Student Facilitator

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