Garden To Table is a school garden support organization serving Boulder County, CO, and surrounding areas. Their education program brings all students (9,000+) and 350 teachers from 20 elementary schools into their garden each year to participate in hands-on lessons about science and gardening. These experiences develop deeper scientific understanding, better eating habits, gardening skills, and a sense of environmental stewardship. The standards-based lessons are designed for grades K-5 and address topics such as plant and insect biology, seed saving, pollination, water conservation, weather and climate, composting and soil health, and human impacts on the environment. Garden To Table also provides garden designs, seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, teacher and parent volunteer training, garden check-ups, community work days, teaching supplies, and online scheduling tools and gardening resources.
In 2019, Garden To Table donated 1,800 pounds of produce to local food banks. Their goal for 2020 is 13,000 pounds, a big jump for this small organization. When schools closed in March due to Covid-19, it was clear that the normal channels for getting food to children and their families would be disrupted. Students wouldn’t be around to eat the produce as part of a lesson or to bring it home to be shared with their family. And yet, there was an increased demand for fresh food at local food banks as families were losing jobs and could no longer rely on Free and Reduced Price Lunch programs. In response, Garden To Table ramped up production of nutrient-dense vegetables for donation.
The first round of donations weighed in at 460 pounds (1,840 heads) of lettuce going to families in need through Community Food Share and Boulder Food Rescue. An additional 2,000 lettuce plants were given directly to families in the community to grow at home. Since then, the organization has donated an additional 500 pounds! Growing food for the community in school gardens is one way to build resilience and Garden To Table is just getting started. With more than 6,000 square feet of garden beds planted with carrots, kale, tomatoes, green beans and squash, fresh food will be coming out of these shared spaces for months to come.