Grow Schoolyard Farms
Help transform underutilized schoolyards into farms. Together we can bring back the basics of how to grow food and cook nutritious meals. In turn, we’ll nourish our kids and our communities.
At Schoolyard Farms we’re working to create farms from underused schoolyard space to feed cafeterias and educate students about healthy food-systems. Schoolyard Farms has spent the last two years laying the groundwork to make this vision a reality in Milwaukie, Oregon: We have cultivated our first three-quarter acre farm at Candy Lane Elementary, sold thousands of pounds of produce to our community, designed and taught garden-based curriculum to over 300 students, built our community’s support and a board of directors. Now we need your help to grow from a grassroots, volunteer project to a sustainable organization that can expand to other schools and make a profound impact.
Photos by: Cara Denison
What We Need
We need to raise $17,000 to build needed infrastructure at our first schoolyard farm and to apply for 501(c)(3) status.
Grow the schoolyard farm at Candy Lane Elementary
Your contribution will go to building a fence and outdoor classroom and kitchen at our initial schoolyard farm in Milwaukie, Oregon. We need to build a fence around the garden to keep the produce safe from people and animals that walk through the schoolyard daily. The school cafeteria can then make use of the produce grown outside their door.
We are also planning an Outdoor Classroom and Kitchen, which will improve the educational experience for the kids who come to the farm each week and provide a space to host our farm-based Summer Camp. In addition, Summer Camp will generate revenue that will help sustain the organization. Improving education, outreach and food access are key to our success. As we work through expansion at this school, we are creating a recipe for success at the next Schoolyard Farm.
Grow the organization
Your donation will also be used to pay for our 501(c)(3) filing fees. Once we attain this nonprofit status, we will be able to apply for grants and receive donations which, in turn, will allow us to continue our work and grow to other schools. We have a founding Board of Directors, draft by-laws, and the enthusiasm of a whole community to do more; we just need to incorporate!
Why your help matters
Children’s health is important to all of us and school gardens are a great way to give kids access to fresh produce and the natural world. They get outside, learn how to grow their own food and how to prepare it, key ingredients for developing life-long, healthy eating habits. Studies show students involved in a garden program have more positive attitudes toward fruit and vegetable snacks and an improvement in vegetable preference scores (http://goo.gl/MqOU6s). Schoolyard gardens can also play an important role in increasing food security in urban and suburban areas.
Unfortunately, the challenge for many schools is that an edible garden can seem like a daunting commitment. Many school gardens rely on parent and teacher volunteers to build and maintain the project. Too often, volunteer turn over results in the gardens turning fallow.
“We are excited about where the school farm might take our students and our school. We believe that the farm is vital as an educational tool. Our students and staff are very engaged in planning for integrated lessons around nutrition and sustainability, yet they lack the time and resources to run the garden on their own.” - Crystal Laier, Principal at Candy Lane Elementary where Schoolyard Farms' pilot farm is located
Schoolyard Farms seeks to remedy this problem by partnering farmers with schools. The farmers cultivate and manage the garden and provide expert garden-based education. They work with the school and staff to bring the benefits of fresh food and farming to them. In exchange for these services, the farmers are allowed to sell produce they grow to their community through CSA shares and farm stands. They can also run fee for service programs, like Summer Camp which help sustain their work and the organization.
"I am deeply intrigued by Schoolyard Farms’ model. Their vision of a hybrid non-profit/for-profit, self-sustaining school farm that can simultaneously educate children and school staff about where their food comes from and why that matters, while also supplying food to the cafeteria and the community is both innovative and highly practical. I want to support the growth of this model and see it succeed so we can share it with schools across the country!" - Stacey Sobell, Farm to School Manager at Ecotrust and Schoolyard Farms founding Board member
Teaching children where food comes from and how to prepare it isn’t so different than the Home Economics courses that were once taught to generations of kids. Schoolyard Farms is a modern approach – a social enterprise model, designed to make it easier for interested schools to have sustainable edible gardens and reconnect kids to the basics.
“The school garden is a great hands-on learning environment. The students love to work in the garden. It is such a fun and exciting learning opportunity. We feel very fortunate to have this outdoor classroom and it is the highlight of our week!” - Shawna Salisbury, 4th grade teacher at Candy Lane Elementary
In return for your support, we’ve assembled a slate of Schoolyard Farm rewards to share with you!
• Rare saved seeds from ingenious plant breeder Tom Wagner (the inventor of the Green Zebra tomato who also develops amazing deep purple and blue, orange and yellow striped disease resistant varieties that we grow on our farm)
The beautiful tomatoes from which we save our seed.
• Preserved criolla sella and cayenne peppers, fennel and coriander spices
• The freshest produce in the form of a CSA share
Illustration of a sample spring share.
• A perennial planted in your name at Schoolyard Farms. We are planting an orchard and berries this winter. We will place a weatherproof sign at the foot of the plant with your name listed as the donor.
• Schoolyard Farm tote bags designed and hand-printed by local Portland artist Natalie Gonzalez (thecloudmachine.com), perfect for carrying your groceries, CSA share or other everyday objects.
A spring share with a Schoolyard Farms tote in the background.
By supporting Schoolyard Farms through this campaign, you’re helping grow a unique model for sustainable school gardens.
Ways You Can Help
Even if you can’t contribute, you can still help.
Help us Grow Schoolyard Farms by telling people about this campaign. Share our video with them and send them to this page
Use the tools here on Indiegogo to share with your friends, families, neighbors, coworkers - anyone you think is interested in supporting healthy food for kids!
Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/SchoolyardFarms), Twitter and Instagram (@SchoolyardFarms)