The amount of funds needed for a school garden will vary depending on the size and complexity of the garden. Garden start-up costs begin between $10,000-$25,000, however donations of materials and tools can help to drastically reduce needed funds. These numbers can sustain a school garden for the entire school year. Let’s get started!
Funding can be raised in any number of ways:
- Local PTA or interested parents.
- Have some local businesses sponsor your garden (they get advertising, you get the garden).
- Donations from various philanthropic organizations.
- In-kind donations from gardening organizations and home improvement stores.
- If in-kind donations can’t be found, larger companies such as Lowe’s, Home Depot and Wal-Mart can also provide discounts on materials.
There are a variety of grants available for which school gardens qualify. It’s worth it to browse the internet for these grants, but as a starting place, these sites have a fairly comprehensive listing of funded grants:
- San Diego Master Gardeners – School Garden Grants
- Grant Wrangler – Grant for Teachers
School gardens can also apply for seed grants from the America The Beautiful Fund at America the Beautiful. The Fund provides grants of vegetable, flower, or herb seeds.
Depending on the type of garden (herb/vegetable/organic), it can be turned into a small business for the students and source of funding for its upkeep. Reach out to restaurants and/or farmer’s markets for the sale of vegetables and herbs. Assuming the garden is organic, you have a ready made supply of locally grown, organic products for sale. This type of fundraising is very popular; it gives the children a sense of accomplishment and allows local businesses to support school programs.