How to Start a School Garden Service Project – 01


To set up and develop a Lions Club School Garden Project you will need to align a few things first.

First, make sure you can have enthusiastic Lions Club volunteers to staff the project. Some of the work you will all perform could be characterized as ‘physical’. But not all of them are, and even those members that are not willing/able to perform the physical tasks required in the garden can be a valuable asset to the project.

Moral support is always welcome and supervision of garden tasks to be performed by students & club volunteers is a must.

Planning and setting up activities are also a primary requirement. Oh yeah, and someone knowledgeable with gardening is always helpful.

As a club, your Board of Directors should agree that this is a service project they want to take on. A budget as small as $350 is a suitable budget to get started. Choose a school garden project coordinator from your Lions Club.

Keep in mind that the individual chosen as your Lion Club project leader or coordinator will be placed in situations where teacher(s), students and volunteers are looking for them to provide direction of that day’s activities. Your chosen project coordinator should have good planning & communication skills. Proper planning is a must, otherwise everyone involved will lose interest and be less willing to show up for later work dates. They should also be willing to submit applications for School Garden Grants – there are many grants available.

Make sure the school principal is agreeable to having a school garden on their campus. Get written permission from the school principal and school district to use the land. The district owns the land. The district can also provide someone that can mark areas where water/drainage pipes & electrical lines may be buried. There are also safety rules & regulations about how close structures (like raised beds) can be to the school building. Maintaining clear access for Fire & EMS vehicles is a must.

Have the principal appoint a teacher/staff member to be your in-school garden contact. There is a lot of educational value to be had at the Middle & High school level. Ask for a CTE  (Computer, Engineering, Technology) or equivalent teacher to be the school’s garden coordinator. That way STEAM curriculum activities can be developed & performed by students in the garden & classroom.

At the Elementary school level, make sure there are enough teacher volunteers to help manage the students for every garden session. There is a special kind of terror one experiences when those school doors open and 22 screaming 2nd graders come running straight for you.

Let the teachers manage the students and student discipline…because every rake, every shovel is a weapon… every glance a challenge to duel. Discipline is a part of the teacher’s job and they are extremely good at it.

Your job is to provide a positive garden experience to them both. And to grow veggies – lots & lots of veggies!

Pick out a flat piece of property that has Southern Exposure (preferably). Become familiar with the school garden area & measure its perimeter (Length 1, Length 2, Width 1, Width 2). If there are any dominant objects or structures in the garden area (greenhouse, length of walkway, large tree) measure that for later use.

This can be a social activity for your club – make it FUN!

Once you have the commitments you need and have completed all the tasks above, you can move on to the next steps for your Lions Club School Garden Project.

Interested in starting a Lions Club School Garden Service Project?

Contact us!