We’ve had a long-standing dedication to informing, enriching and supporting the next generation of farmers, gardeners, environmentalist, scientists and citizens. We now offer both on-farm learning experiences for school-aged kids and a curriculum for high school honors biology students. Our goal is to continue to develop programs and resources that best serve students and their educators and help grow a generation of citizens who are also caretakers of our land, our resources, our food and each other.
School gardens are an excellent way to teach young children about where their food comes from and help kids start learning healthy eating habits young! But where do you start? Rodale Institute, the birthplace of the organic movement, has put together this resource "My First Garden," to help teachers integrate school gardens into their classroom curriculum. Use these 5 lesson plans, including "Where Food Comes From," "How Seeds Grow," "Planting a Garden," "Harvesting and Tasting," and "Visit a Farm." Each lesson comes with a video tutorial, activities, printable resources, books to read, crafts, and snacks to get all the senses involved in learning!
This curriculum is designed for preschool or kindergarten children, but could be adapted to suit early elementary school needs.
Honors Biology: Soil Biology and the Biosphere
A high school biology curriculum developed by Rodale Institute and Reading High School teacher Christine Pellegrini. The curriculum can be used by other teachers to combine in-class learning with experiential learning in various environments. Read more about the original classroom and on-farm learning experience that inspired the curriculum at: The science of farming and Students, science and soil. NOTE: Referenced PowerPoints and worksheets available from Pellegrini upon request at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young Scientist Program
The program is designed as 1.5 to 2-hour educational field trips focused on topics of relevance to our current food system and its impact on the environment. Students learn from Rodale’s expert guides about how environmental issues related to food production, soil health and water quality impact their every day life. All activities included in the program are designed to meet the needs of the individual group, connect informal learning with content standards and link concepts across science, math, history, geography, culture and languages. Rodale Institute’s educational programming provides valuable hands-on learning by engaging students in standards based experiences across the K-12 curriculum.
Organic Transition Course
The Rodale Institute's Organic Transition Course is a 15-hour online program designed for farmers who are ready to make the complete transition to certified organic, and for those interested in simply integrating more sustainable methods into their current farming system. Agricultural educators, professors and course leaders in college-level classes or beyond will find this an invaluable resource for their students or workshop participants.
From Our Friends and Partners:
OFRF: Organic Education Resources
The Organic Farming Research Foundation has a searchable database of activities, curriculum and educational programs for beginning farmers, K-12, parents, teachers, college students and volunteers.
University of California: Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening
A 600-page training manual on the "practical aspects of organic farming and gardening, applied soil science, and social and environmental issues in agriculture" from University of California’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Contains lecture outlines, field demonstrations, progress assessments and resource lists.
USDA SARE: Sustainable Agriculture Resources and Programs for K – 12 Youth
A USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education guide to sustainable agriculture educational programs, curricula and other materials for schoolchildren from kindergarten through 12th grade. It lists contacts and Web links, plus suggestions for using lessons in course planning.
Georgia High School Organic Farming Curriculum
Georgia Organics, a nonprofit organization that promotes locally grown food and organic farms, created a curriculum to help educate high school agricultural students and adults about organic farming and gardening. "Fundamentals of Organic Farming and Gardening: An Instructor's Guide" aims to fill the gap between demand and supply of organic food by encouraging more education.