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School and Community Garden Training

Flyer in blue and orange school colors announcing Date/Time.
Event Date(s)

 Saturday, March 13, 2021

Registration is now open for Cook County Extension's popular School and Community Garden Training. 

Delivered virtually this year, this training will offer an overview of the resources that Extension can offer your organization. 

We ask that at least three representatives (may include staff, volunteers, parents, teachers, garden coordinators, administrators) from your garden attend Extension's free garden training to jump-start planning, recruit helpers, schedule garden installations and develop programming.

During this program we will break out into smaller groups for tailored information to your specific needs. Please select two break out groups to attend. Each session will be repeated twice: 

A. Vegetable Gardening

Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator, Zack Grant and Horticulture Educator, Nancy Kreith collaborate to deliver basics of vegetable gardening and ideas for extending the season during the winter months. This session will cover site preparation, seed starting, growing techniques, harvesting and storage methods, food safety and season extension. Time will be reserved for group discussion.

B. Ornamentals, Native Plants, and Conservation@Home for Communities

Join Horticulture Educator, Gemini Bhalsod and Conservation@Home Coordinator, Val Kehoe for an overview of how to incorporate ornamental plants into your school or community garden. We will cover site assessment, plant choices, growing in containers and raised beds, along with establishment and maintenance tips. We will also introduce the Conservation@Home program, which has resources for gardening using environmentally friendly practices and educational opportunities. Come with your questions, ideas, concerns, and thoughts! There will be plenty of time for discussion in this exciting breakout room.

C. Donation Gardens and Nutrition Curriculum

SNAP-Ed Educator, Dominique Cobbs will review the benefits of donation gardens to the community, schools, and recipients of the garden harvest. In addition, for schools, participants will be informed on what curricula is available to them, ensuring the school gardens and nutrition education are incorporated in the classroom. Time will be reserved for group discussion.

D. Garden Management Problem Solving

Have you ever found yourself with too few volunteers on a garden workday? Does it seem like the same people do all the work? Do parents tell you their kids love the school garden program, but they never contribute? How do we as garden leaders overcome these hurdles? Extension educator Kathryn Pereira, a founding member of Quann Community Garden (est. 2001) in Madison Wisconsin, will share case studies and lead a roundtable discussion where you can present your problems and share your solutions to learn new tips, tricks, and tools create a thriving volunteer culture.  

For on demand information, please visit Cook County Extension's School Garden Resources website.

For questions about this training,  please email Margaret Burns-Westmeyer:

Pre-registration is required at