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A young boy inspects a garden plant with big leaves. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension]

Get into a school garden, with our workshop series

A public sign at Cranberry Elementary School highlights the "rules" for fun at the school garden. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County]

A sign at Cranberry Elementary School highlights the “rules” for fun at their school garden. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, Claudia Castillo]

In recent months, there has been increased interest in gardening and growing food. Fortunately, the Sunshine State’s growing seasons align well with the school year, and Sarasota County abounds with school gardens. Join us Friday for a day of workshops that will get you up to speed on these gardens and our School Gardens program, and have you ready to join the crowd.

If you are an educator, parent, or Master Gardener Volunteer engaging with youth in a school garden, or considering creating one, please join our four-part “School Gardens 2020 Workshop” webinar series, starting at 9 a.m. Workshop sessions will run 60 or 90 minutes, with breaks in between, and include topics like nutrition, funding, curricula, connections, how to grow veggies, and more. Join one session or sit in for them all, based on your interests, needs and availability. And, since this is a virtual/online event, join from the comfort of your home or workplace, at your convenience.

The majority of the information in the workshops, including a teacher sharing her firsthand experience in the School Gardens program, aims to help school teachers already involved in, or preparing to get into, growing. Staff and volunteers at libraries, preschools, and after-school centers will find it useful, too. And, each session includes a Q&A window, to help amplify the experience.

To get you started, we’ve included some basic information about sessions, below. Learn more and register for any session with the link(s) supplied.

An elementary school student practices growing skills at a Sarasota County school garden. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, Claudia Castillo]

An after-school camper practices growing skills at a Sarasota County garden. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, Mindy Hanak]

  • Nutrition/Food (Topic 1 of 4), 9-10 a.m.: Learn about nutrition and school gardens, including information relating to MyPlate, food safety, and harvesting/tasting experiences to share with kids. Dr. Maria Portelos-Rometo, our Family Consumer Science Agent, shares tips for making fresh food fun for kids as they learn what nutrients help their bodies grow healthy and strong.
  • Veggie 101, 10:30 a.m. to noon: Learn edible gardening essentials so you feel enriched and ready to grow! Our sustainable agriculture agent, Sarah Bostick, shares her passion for growing veggies, and explains it all in a palatable way.
  • Teacher Experience, 1-2 p.m.: Deb Walker, Middle School Teacher of the Year, Florida Agriculture in the Classroom 2019, shares the real dirt on school gardens!  She’ll share lessons learned, good and bad: what she’s tried, what works for her, funding and resources to try, projects or growing methods to consider, connections to make, and more.
  • Sustainable Gardens, 2:30-3:45 p.m.: Don’t just create it, sustain it! Learn funding, curriculum resources, making fun spaces, and encouraging collaborations with school gardens. Get information on creating a garden, and making sure it has staying power.

CEUs available. NOTE: If you need a certificate of attendance, you must sign in to the webinar using the chat box AND email coordinator Mindy Hanak at to request a copy.

Questions? Please contact


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