The REAL school garden experience: building sustainable school gardens through sustainable communities
Mcgaughy, Tamra Denise
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This study evaluated the impact of REAL School Gardens (RSG); through their establishment of school gardens and educational opportunities for teachers. RSG Network schools are geographically located in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. The study had a 48% response rate. Results showed schools acquire monetary support for gardens from a large variety of community supports, ranging from $20 to $60,000. In addition, schools also received discounts on supplies and in-kind gifts from community businesses and organization. Schools reported spending a combination of 25 hours a week on planning gardening teaching strategies, garden maintenance, and educating youth in the garden and classroom. Results showed the primary purpose of the garden was academic and the main subjects taught were science, mathematics and language arts/ English. Schools reported having a school gardening coordinator and using a variety of community volunteers in the garden. Only a limited percentage of school s reported usage of an integrated garden-based curriculum. The schools provided insight on perceived critical factors for a successful school garden. The majority of schools rated their school “needs improvement” on implementation of the critical factors for a successful school garden.