Tag Archives: school gardens

Happy Birthday to Us!

10 Jun

It’s party time!

We’re celebrating two very important birthdays today. The American Heart Association is celebrating 90 years of saving and improving the lives of those affected by heart disease. In honor of our special day, we’re taking a look back at the biggest moments from our first 9 decades.

And we would be remiss if we didn’t give a birthday shout-out to our wonderful Teaching Gardens founder and fearless leader, Kelly Meyer. Kelly works tirelessly everyday to help children eat better and grow strong through gardening. She is such an inspiration and we absolutely adore her.


You have to watch this video of the super sweet kiddos at Peters Elementary singing  Happy Birthday to Kelly during their American Heart Association Teaching Garden planting day.


If anyone needs us, we’ll be the guys rockin’ the double party hats.

Until next week, happy growing everyone!


Study Finds that School Gardens Help Kids get Active

25 Mar


Great news! A recently study by Cornell University found that school gardens help kids be more physically active. By the end of the study, kids at schools with gardens were moderately physically active at school for 10 more minutes a week than before their schools had gardens. That is four times more active than children at gardenless schools! What’s more, children who gardened at school were substantially less sedentary at home and elsewhere outside of school.

The researchers found that on average, children sat for 84 percent and stood for 10 percent during a typical indoor class. However during garden lessons, kids moved about much more, sitting for only 15 percent of the time, with the majority of their time spent standing, walking and kneeling.

Read more about this study and check out the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity in children.

Spring into Action: Western States Edition

18 Mar

Our Western States affiliate is wasting no time getting back into the garden. Kathy Rogers, American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Executive Vice President shared this story on her blog The WSA Exchange.

Though you might not know it from some of the crazy weather going on around the country – spring has definitely sprung in the Western States in the form of Teaching Gardens. Santiago Elementary School became home to one of 12 Teaching Gardens in Orange County, CA, provided with funding support from The California Endowment. Students, parents and teachers worked hand-in-hand to build planter boxes, fill them up with soil and plant vegetable and fruit seedlings — including strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce and a variety of herbs. Each school is funded for three years during which they are preparing to be self-sufficient to maintain a sustainable garden.

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Kids at Crestwood Elementary in Las Vegas, NV, also got their hands dirty while planting and learning about health. On hand to help were School Principal Jackie Richardson, Chair of the Teaching Gardens Executive Leadership Committee; Aurora Buffington of the Southern Nevada Health District; Las Vegas division Board of Directors member Judah Zakalik, along with faculty and community members. It looks like a good time was had by all!

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Click here to continue reading about the great heart healthy happenings in the Western States!

Kale Yeah!

7 Mar

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Have you ever tried Kale chips? Third graders at Garfield Elementary in Long Beach, CA used produce from their teaching garden to make this crunchy healthy snack.  Classes harvested the kale, washed leaves, shredded , mixed in seasoning, and prepared them for the cafeteria oven.  120 students participated and enjoyed tasting kale!

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How to Make Kale Chips:

  • Wash and dry leaves with a towel
  • Tear into bite-sized pieces
  • Drizzle with a little oil and black pepper.
  • Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes until crispy.

Read more about the health benefits of kale. 

Winter To-Do List

28 Jan

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We know you’re already working on all these, right? But just in case Mother Nature doesn’t feel like warming up anytime soon, you better  add these garden tasks to your to- do list.

Plan ahead

Cold, dark winter days are the ideal time to start planning your spring garden.  Choose the plants you would like to grown with your students and create a planting calendar to guide you through spring.

If You Build it…

Get the garden ready for spring. When the weather permits, winter is a great time to dive in to infrastructure projects for your Teaching Garden. Building or repairing planter boxes now leaves more time for growing later! So roll up your sleeves and tackle that bird bath or tool shed that you’ve been hoping to add.


A compost pile allows you to recycle food scraps and create fertile soil for the garden. Get started over the cool months to make sure you have plenty of healthy soil for your new seedlings.

Photos & Video

Be sure to use the flip camera provided with your Teaching Garden to take pictures and video of your students in action and submit them to teachinggardens@heart.org

Jot it down

Keep the garden going during winter with the Teaching Garden Journal. Have students track the weather, make plans for spring or share a favorite recipe.

Survey Time!

We want to see your growth, but we need data measure it.

For schools new to the Teaching Gardens program, make sure that you have filled out and submitted your Pre-Survey. Gardens in their second cycle after completing a harvest should have completed the Post Survey.


Fall Garden Checklist

17 Sep

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Happy Fall Teaching Gardeners! Its harvest time, and we know your kiddos are chomping at the bit to try those garden goodies.  Make sure you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor with these quick tips.

  • Invite us to the party

We want to see your gardeners in action! Remember to invite your local AHA staff to your Harvest day. We’re ready to help you celebrate your success!

  • Brush up on your cooking skills 

Your students are dying to try those fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure you know how to prepare them. Check out Simple Cooking with Heart to find healthy prep methods and ways for your students to lend a hand in the kitchen.

  • Photos and video

Be sure to use the flip camera provided with your Teaching Garden to take pictures and video of your students in action. BONUS POINTS: Upload your best harvest photos to Instagram and use #TGHarvest during the month of October for a chance to be featured on our sites! Click here for contest details.

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  • Jot it down 

Keep your students engaged with the garden in the classroom with the Teaching Gardens Journal. Write about the changing seasons, which veggies they enjoyed the most, or what they would do different next season!

  • Be Generous

If you harvest more than you can eat, consider donating your surplus crop to a local food back. Its a great way to reach out to your community and show students the value of giving back. Not sure where to donate? Use this tool to find food banks in your area.

  • Survey Time! 

We want to see your growth, but we need data measure it.
For schools new to the Teaching Gardens program, make sure that you have filled out and submitted your Pre-Survey. Gardens in their second cycle after completing a harvest should have completed the Post Survey.

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Why we Veg Out on Meatless Monday

9 Sep

Ever wonder why we go green every Monday? Its simple. Diets high in red meat are linked to higher instances of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Does that mean we should give up meat all together? Not at all! But going green once a week on Meatless Monday makes great strides for your health. Watch this video and give it a try today!