Every year, the School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute provides an opportunity for school garden professionals from across the country to collaborate, learn from one another, and develop resources to share with a national audience. In this way, we all become able to better support school gardens in our regions, and also advance the national school garden movement.
The 2022 SGSO Leadership Institute prioritized school district-based programs. These are programs that have district school garden program staff, have a strong partnership with one or more school districts, or are working toward partnership with a school district. Each team invited to attend sent 2 key leaders to the Institute. Teams were comprised of two people from the same organization, or two individuals from different organizations who work closely together to support multiple school gardens in their region.
School gardens have tremendous lifelong benefits for children. Research has shown that when children participate in a school garden program, they show marked improvement in healthy eating; social emotional skills; environmental attitudes; scientific achievement; and attitudes toward learning (www.lifelab.org/whyschoolgardens).
But school garden programs need support in order to unlock their full potential. Without well-trained educators, strong curriculum, and supportive networks, garden programs often become underutilized or even forgotten. With support, however, they thrive, become institutionalized into school cultures, and inspire children for decades.
Regional School Garden Support Organizations have emerged as a key determinant in the success and sustainability of school garden programs across the country. This Institute is designed to provide SGSO leaders with the inspiration and information they need to effectively support school garden programs in their regions, and to share best practices with other SGSOs nationally.
Questions? Contact Whitney Cohen [email protected]
|Organization||State||Attendee||Attendee Job Title|
|Academy for Global Citizenship||IL||Kris De la Torre||Director of Sustainability & Wellness|
|Chicago Public Schools||IL||Ilana Marder-Eppstein||CPS Garden Specialist|
|Boulder Valley School District||CO||Susan Cousins||Operational Services Communications Manager|
|Boulder Valley School District – School Food Project||CO||Miriam Holleb||School Food Project Food System eeCorps Member|
|City Blossoms||DC||Rafael Woldeab||Executive Director|
|City Blossoms||DC||Darian Artis||School Garden Partners Coordinator|
|Columbus City School||OH||Katie Young||Farm to School/Nutrition Coordinator|
|Columbus City Schools||OH||Victoria Johnson||PreK teacher|
|Friends of the National Arboretum||DC||Allie Arnold||School Garden Program Manager|
|Friends of the National Arboretum||DC||Ashley Rattanawan||School Garden Program Manager|
|Gardeneers||IL||Selma Sims||CEO + Head Grower|
|Gardeneers||IL||Rebecca MacDonald||Director of Curriculum + Learning|
|Growing Healthy Kids – Mount Diablo USD||CA||Laney Cline King||Program Director|
|Growing Healthy Kids – Mount Diablo USD||CA||Alice Burns||Garden Educator/Trainer|
|Grow Pittsburgh||PA||Redding Jackson||Learning Garden Educator|
|Grow Pittsburgh||PA||Adia Effiong||Director of School Garden Programs|
|GrowingGreat||CA||Adriana Bikouvaris||Early Childhood Program Manager|
|GrowingGreat||CA||Meghan Nealon||STEM Program Director|
|Houston ISD Nutrition Services||TX||Phyllicia Moore||Agriculture Specialist|
|Houston ISD||TX||Matthew Graham||Farm & Garden Educator|
|Life Lab||CA||Aisling Mitchell||Pajaro Valley Unified School District Partner Schools Program Lead|
|Life Lab||CA||Alyssa Ellis||Pajaro Valley Unified School District Partner Schools Program Lead|
|Life Lab||CA||Sasha Retford Gonzalez||Pajaro Valley Unified School District Partner Schools Garden Lead|
|Life Lab||CA||Geoff Palla||Live Oak School District/ Santa Cruz City Schools Partner Schools Manager|
|Life Lab||CA||Whitney Cohen||Education Director|
|Life Lab||CA||John Fisher||Director of Programs & Partnerships|
|Life Lab||CA||Judit Camacho||Co-Executive Director|
|Life Lab||CA||Regi Jones||National Curriculum and Training Specialist|
|Office of the State Superintendent of Education||DC||Sam Ullery||School Gardens Specialist|
|Openlands||IL||Jessica Fong||Director of Education|
|Openlands||IL||Danielle Russell||School Gardens Coordinator|
|Pittsburg Unified School District||CA||Mary Helen Nicolini||Garden Specialist|
|Pittsburg Unified School District||CA||Elizabeth Oberender||Child Nutrition Supervisor|
|Prescott Unified School District No. 1||AZ||Sara Reveile||Farm to School Coordinator|
|Skyview School||AZ||Ashley Fine||School Garden Coordinator/ Educator|
|Saint Paul Public Schools||MN||Kirsten Saylor||School Garden Specialist Consultant/Grow Our Own Program Coordinator|
|Saint Paul Public Schools||MN||Chelsea Moody||Environmental Specialist 2|
|Santa Clara County Office of Education||CA||Jennifer Mutch||Science Coordinator|
|Santa Clara County Office of Education||CA||Marie Bacher||Director of Environmental Education-Walden West|
|Schenectady City School District||NY||Rebekka Henriksen||Farm to School Project Manager|
|Schenectady City School District||NY||Nicole Marriner||STEM/Media Specialist|
|SGSO Network||TX||Tristana Pirkl||Director|
|Upland Unified School District||CA||Cassidy Boardman||Farm to School Program Manager|
|Upland Unified School District||CA||Ksenia Glenn||Director of Nutrition Services|
|Waukee Community Schools||IA||Kaitlyn Scheuermann||Dietitian|
|Waukee Community Schools||IA||Ali Locker||Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning|
|Ysabel Barnett Elementary/TVHS||CA||Andy Hintz||Garden Lead|
|Temecula Valley USD||CA||Meghan Manion||Garden Lead|
The Leadership Institute takes place at Mission Springs Conference Center just outside of Santa Cruz, CA. 40 minute drive from San Jose Airport and 1 hour 15 minute drive from San Francisco Airport.
See photos from the 2022 Institute
The 2021 Virtual Leadership Institute Compiled These Promising Practices Documents
2020 SGSO Institute to be added
View what took place at our 2019 School Garden Support Organization Institute.
View what took place at our 2018 School Garden Support Organization Institute.
View what took place at our 2016 School Garden Support Organization Institute.
Join the School Garden Support Organization Network E-list to be updated on upcoming events & webinars or join the SGSO Network Google Group to be part of a national dialogue of school garden support organizations.
Hosted by Life Lab and Whole Kids Foundation., in partnership with the SGSO Network.