A school garden is an innovative and powerful educational tool. It enables educators to provide their students with an understanding of the dynamics of local ecologies, nutrition, the culture and politics of food, and practical life skills not limited to horticulture.
The University of Arizona’s Community and School Garden Program (CSGP) is primarily aimed at connecting Tucson educators with university students eager to participate in the school garden movement occurring throughout the country. The CSGP matches university student interns with Tucson with schools and community organizations to support the installation, development and maintenance of a garden program. Interns are trained through TUSD Food Service, the Community Foodbank of Southern Arizona, and CSGP team members to become gardening support persons as well as to assist with lesson plan development and instruction around food, gardening, and community development.
The primary aim of the CSGP is to enable Tucson teachers to develop and sustain gardens and use them as an experiential learning tool, one that connects students to their local environments as well as to the culture, science, and politics of food. A secondary goal is to assist community groups also interested in developing gardens that will complement their food needs. Connecting these two objectives is the desire to support the development of a regional food system that is just and equitable.