Organic Garden Program, founded in 2006, is one of the Roots & Shoots participatory environmental education initiatives. It aims at building vegetable and herb gardens at schools and involving students in the process to teach them about sustainable agriculture and organic gardening. The entire process is done without using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic growth hormones nor GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).
Roots & Shoots Organic Garden is a place that nurtures hope. Through hands-on involvement with organic agriculture, students will understand its importance on the human community and be able to apply such skills in real life to better the environment near them.
As of January 2018, 90 local and international schools ranging from kindergartens to universities in the Yangtze River Delta region have built organic gardens on campus. The program also published the Organic Garden Curriculum, Earthworm Compost Pamphlet, Planting Cards, Organic Garden Diary, and other resources to help students establish their own gardens. In 2010, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Hanghua First Primary School’s organic garden; in 2011 former U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke visited Jinzhou Primary School organic garden; in 2017, US Ambassador Terry Branstad and US Consul General Sean B. Stein visited Minli High School. All of them highly praised the school gardens and the organic gardening projects taking place in respective schools.
Organic Garden Training
Shanghai Roots & Shoots organizes six organic garden trainings each year (three in each semester) for teachers in participating schools and volunteers. The training will allow participants to understand the meaning of organic and learn hands-on organic gardening techniques. Participants will gain a more comprehensive understanding of how to build an organic garden at their schools and how to effectively manage it.
Organic Farm Tour
Shanghai Roots & Shoots also organizes organic farm tours for student and corporate groups to experience the beauty of organic farms. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, participants can clear their minds and enjoy the peace and tranquility that nature brings.
Schools with existing Roots & Shoots groups can directly apply to participate in this program. After receiving the application, Organic Garden Program will contact the applicant and provide training, curriculum, seeds, and a volunteer to help the school start the garden.
If the school doesn’t have a Roots & Shoots group, the school has to register with Shanghai Roots & Shoots first (Registration Form) . After registration, the group can then grow the garden.
Corporate Involvement （Adopt-A-Garden）
Corporations can participate in the Adopt-A-Garden program to both achieve corporate social responsibility and fully involve staff in community service to help them understand the importance of organic farming on the environment. During the cooperation (usually a year), not only will the school receive professional gardening tools, seasonal seedlings and high quality soil, participating students and volunteers will also get professional training. Shanghai Roots & Shoots will organize an organic farm tour for the participating corporation.
Adopt-A-Garden Case Study: Disney Earth Day
Individuals can apply to become organic garden volunteers. Shanghai Roots & Shoots will recruit volunteers every February, March, August and September on our website or WeChat page. A volunteer’s main job is to teach weekly/biweekly organic garden lessons at assigned local school for a minimum of one semester to assist students in building and maintaining the garden. The Organic Garden team will interview to select appropriate volunteers. All finalized volunteers will be given relevant training and get assigned to a school organic garden. At the end of the semester, the Organic Garden team will evaluate and recognize outstanding volunteers based on school performance feedback.
Download：OG Mentor Application
The Gift That Keeps Giving
With enough care and love the garden will bear fruit of students’ hard work. Students can share their harvest from the garden with their friends or hold a charity vegetable sale at the school.
Of course, witnessing the improvement of the school environment due to their hard work is the most rewarding gift for the students, teachers and volunteers.
For more information, please call (021) 63523580 -812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .