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What is a classroom garden?

Ottawa Network for Education’s (ONFE) Classroom Gardens program is a unique and innovative initiative that has been making waves in the local education community. With a focus on promoting sustainable food systems and fostering healthy eating habits, the program aims to educate young students about the importance of fresh, locally grown produce and the benefits of gardening. The program has been well received by students, teachers, and parents alike, and it has had a positive impact on many communities in the Ottawa area.

What are Classroom Gardens?

At the heart of the Classroom Gardens program is a simple concept: to provide school-based gardens (indoor vertical gardens) where students can grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. The goal is to get students involved in the growing process, from planting to harvesting, so they can gain hands-on experience with gardening and learn about the importance of sustainable food systems.

The benefits of the Classroom Gardens program are numerous and far-reaching. For students, participating in the program can provide an educational experience unlike any other. By planting, nurturing, and harvesting their own produce, students can gain a deeper understanding of the food they eat, how it’s grown, and the impact their food choices have on the environment. They also develop a sense of pride and ownership over their garden, which can be a powerful motivator for making healthy food choices.

Benefits of Classroom Gardens

The program also provides many benefits for teachers. By incorporating gardening into their lesson plans, teachers can create opportunities for hands-on learning, critical thinking, and teamwork. The program also aligns with many curriculum objectives, including science, health, and environmental studies. In addition, the Classroom Gardens program provides teachers with the resources and support they need to make gardening a successful and meaningful part of their students’ education.

For parents, the Classroom Gardens program provides a unique opportunity to connect with their child’s school and be involved in their education. Many parents have found that participating in gardening activities with their children has strengthened their bond and helped them understand the importance of healthy eating habits. The program also provides families with access to fresh, locally grown produce, which can be a valuable resource for promoting healthy eating and reducing food costs.

aeroponic (no soil) Tower Gardens
Aeroponic (no soil) Tower Gardens

What equipment comes with a Classroom Garden?

Depending on your grade level, ONFE’s Classroom Gardens work with the aeroponic (no soil) Tower Gardens as well as soil-based Garden Towers, which include a build-in vermicompost.

Windowsill Gardens launched in 2021 for in-person learning and virtual classroom models. It helped students and teachers to start their own mini gardens, planting four edible plant varieties.

The program provides everything needed to set up and maintain a successful garden, including seeds, soil, tools, and technical support.

A soil-based Garden Tower, which includes a build-in vermicompost
A soil-based Garden Tower, which includes a build-in vermicompost

How can I get a Classroom Garden?

ONFE currently has over 110 towers in over 75 schools! Visit the Classroom Gardens page of our website to learn more about the program. If you would like to start a garden in your classroom, please contact Simon McMillan, Classroom Gardens Program Manager at for more information (there is currently a waitlist)

By fostering a love of gardening and healthy eating habits, Classroom Gardens is helping to create a sustainable food system for future generations. In addition, the program has brought together students, teachers, and parents, creating a sense of community and collaboration around a shared goal.

Windowsill garden
Windowsill garden

One Comment

  1. This is such a great idea . I have recycled cans and pots and have some seedlings started on my window sills . Good luck with this valuable project.

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