Michigan Land Use Institute

Food & Farming / Projects / Farm To School / School Garden Week

School Garden Week

Contact Information

For more information about the School Garden Week, contact Kirsten Gerbatsch at Kirsten.gerbatsch@foodcorps.org or 551-427-8630.

School Garden Week Schedule

Sunday June 2

"Central Grade School Youth and Community Garden Planting Party"
Planting Workbee roughly 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; concert and fundraiser from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Garden Coordinator:  Sam Porter, sam@porterhouseproductions.com or (231) 499- 4968

Monday June 3

Platte River Elementary, 3-5:30 p.m.
Garden coordinator: Kirsten Gerbatsch, kirsten.gerbatsch@foodcorps.org, (551) 427-8630

Northport Public School 3:30-5:30 pm
Garden Coordinator: Pam Bardenhagen, pam.bardenhagen@gmail.com, (231) 944-6397

Leelanau Children’s Center in Northport 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Garden Coordinator: Karin Chambers, karin@leelanauchildrenscenter.org, (231) 386-5144

Tuesday June 4

Leland Public School 3:30 - 5:00 pm  
Garden Coordinator:  Kathy Wheeler, kwheeler@leland.k12.mi.us, (231) 256-9857

Suttons Bay Public School 3:30-5:30 pm
Garden Coordinator: Pam Bardenhagen, pam.bardenhagen@gmail.com, (231) 944-6397

Wednesday June 5

Interlochen Elementary, 4-6 pm
Garden Coordinator: Kirsten Gerbatsch, kirsten.gerbatsch@foodcorps.org, (551) 427-8630

Central Lake Public School 11:30AM - 1:30 pm
Garden Coordinator: Mary Brower, marymbrower@gmail.com, (231) 459-8968

Leelanau Children’s Center in Leland 3:30-5:30 pm
Garden Coordinator: (231) 386-5144

Thursday June 6

Traverse Heights Elementary 3:30-5:30 pm
Garden Coordinator: Kirsten Gerbatsch, kirsten.gerbatsch@foodcorps.org, (551) 427-8630

Grand Traverse Area Children’s Garden 3:30 - 5:30 pm
Garden Coordinator: Susan Kuschell, rskuschell@aol.com, (231) 929-0916 or cell (231) 633-0500

The Greenspire School 3:30-5:5:30 pm
Garden Coordinator:  Sarah Johnson, sarah.johnson@greenspireschool.org (231) 946-4400

School addresses & phone numbers

Grand Traverse County

► Traverse Heights Elementary School: 933 Rose St. in Traverse City; (231)933-6500
► Central Grade School: 301 W Seventh St. in Traverse City; (231) 933-5600
► Interlochen Elementary School: 3113 Michigan 137 in Interlochen; (231) 933-5920
► The Greenspire School: 1026 Red Drive in Traverse City; (231) 946-4400
► Grand Traverse Area Children’s Garden: 610 Woodmere Ave. Traverse City; (231) 932-8500

Leelanau County

► Northport Public School: 104 S Wing St. in Northport; (231) 386-5153
► Leelanau Children’s House in Leland: 111 N. Fifth St. in Leland; (231) 256-7841
► Leelanau Children’s House in Northport: 164 S. High St. in Northport; (231) 386-5144
► Suttons Bay Public Schools: 500 S Elm St. in Suttons Bay; (231) 271-8603

Benzie County

► Platte River Elementary: 11434 Main St. in Honor; (231) 325-3063

Antrim County

► Central Lake Elementary: 8190 W State St. in Central Lake; (231) 544-5221


School Garden Profiles

Grand Traverse County

Traverse Heights Elementary School

At Traverse Heights Elementary School there are 17 raised beds and two small elevated beds on the school property.  This large school garden endeavor could not be possible without the amazing support from community volunteers, Master Gardeners, and teachers.  Last spring, students and teachers planted everything from basil to pumpkins, and a group of volunteers led a summer gardening program for students and their parents.  This spring we have planted all kind of herbs and edible flowers, peas, carrots, beets, and greens just to start.  We hope to continue a summer program around the school garden this year, too.

Central Grade School

At Central Grade Elementary there is a strolling perennial garden with wildflowers and an espaliered apple tree.  On May 5th, parents, staff and children came together to build 12 raised beds out of cedar donated by Brown Lumber and do a spring cleanup of the perennial garden. This spring many classes have started vegetables, herbs and flowers from donated seed.  In addition, a local nursery, Florigen, is donating plants starts.  May 15th, the Central grade Girls On The Run will begin to fill the raised beds as part of their service project.  They will fill them with 10 yards of  topsoil donated by Alpers, 5 yards of compost from Bay Area Recycling for Charities and 1 yard Dairy Doo donated by Four Seasons Nursery.  On June 2nd, we will combine our planting day with a garden celebration and fundraiser, with food and music.  The garden will become a community garden over the summer months with students, parent, and neighbors invited to tend and harvest from the garden.

Interlochen Elementary School

At Interlochen Elementary School we currently have an indoor hydroponic garden system in the library, as well as an outdoor garden with traditional wood raised beds.  Inside there are 5 Hydro-Stackers (patented vertical hydroponic units) along the windowsill.  These host a bounty of greens and herbs such as kale, rainbow chard, parsley, basil, and cilantro.  The second and third grade classes started the seeds in the fall and transplanted in December.  With the fluorescent grow-lights overhead, the indoor garden is a year-round space for learning about plant science and growing fresh greens and herbs! Outside, we have revitalized 5 long raised beds in which radishes, kale, and carrots have been planted this spring.

The Greenspire School

The students The Greenspire School are blessed to have a 20x30 ft greenhouse that serves as a botany lab and place to start their vegetables in the spring.  The have two raised beds in the greenhouse for greens and root vegetables in the winter.  They also have several raised beds for herbs and vegetables outside, which they cover with fabric for season extension in the spring and fall.  They also have a newly planted small orchard and the trails of the Commons as an Outdoor Living Laboratory.

Traverse Area Children’s Garden (behind the TADL on Woodmere)

The Childrens Garden started as a traditional exploration childrens garden featuring  a storybook garden, a moon garden, flower gardens, a Sensory garden, a water garden and play structures like the train, frog and willow house.  It was soon realized that children need to also have a place to engage all five senses - to plant and tend a garden.  The Enabling Garden is adjacent to the Children’s Garden and contains a pavillion with small greenhouse and raised beds tended by diverse groups of parents and children.  The raised beds feature vegetables, flowers and herbs in the summer.  During the summer there are cooking demonstrations and other special events where the outdoor pizza oven is fired up to makes veggie pizzas from the garden! 

Leelanau County

Northport Public School

At Northport Public School, elementary school teachers, science teachers, and volunteers have made their school garden really come to life.  Only in its second season, this garden of nine raised beds has been used for all kinds of hands-on science lessons.  The garden vegetables are also harvested and used for school lunch!  We planted garlic cloves this past October and are excited to harvest garlic this summer.

Leelanau Children’s Center in Leland

Every year since 2008, the Leelanau Children’s Center in Leland has added new raised growing beds used for many types of vegetables and kitchen herbs.  These are located directly in front of the building so they’re immediately obvious to parents and passers-by.  An important aspect of the garden design is the division of part of the garden into 16 individual raised beds, each only 18 x 18 inches.  Labeling these with photos of individual children helps instill a sense  of “ownership” and pride in their small gardens.

Leelanau Children’s Center in Northport

Children interacting with nature is a big part of the experience at the Leelanau Childrens Center in Northport.  There is a wildflower garden, sensory garden (herbs), as well  log-framed raised beds for student and community vegetable gardening in front of the building.

Suttons Bay Public Schools

The easiest way to find the gardens is to park in the high school parking lot and walk to the northside of the building.  There are two garden projects at this school, both in view of one another.  Behind Suttons Bay Elementary School there is a school garden with five raised beds, which is a collaborative effort of the Suttons Bay Public School and Leelanau Montessori  School.   Started in 2008, the raised beds were rebuilt in 2012 with the help of Suttons Bay High School students working on community service projects.  The bed most beloved by all age levels is the “Sensory Garden” with a variety of annual and perennial herbs that encourage children to smell, touch, and taste an interesting array of plants and flowers.   Near the high school, is a school garden with five raised beds containing a variety of vegetables.  This garden has been a collaborative effort of Suttons Bay High School and the SEEDS after-school program.  The garden was started in 2010 as a high school senior project.  Adjacent to the vegetable beds is the Medicine Wheel  garden, designed to honor the teachings of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, that represent a significant part of the school community.    

Benzie County

Platte River Elementary

Platte River Elementary School is home to a large hoop house, which allows students to grow vegetables even in the middle of winter. The 24’ x 24’ plastic covered wooden frame is on a sliding track that allows for double the planting space. So far this school year, students have planted and harvested spinach, pea shoots, and kale. We are looking forward to harvesting beets, carrots, Swiss rainbow chard, and garlic before the end of the school year in June. In mid-March, the third grade classes started seeds for tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers. We started these seeds slightly earlier than other gardeners would because we know that it will be warmer in the hoop house environment earlier in the season.

Antrim County

Central Lake Elementary

Sponsored by ISLAND and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Central Lake School garden is a place where students engage with plants as a component of academic learning, extracurricular enrichment, and community involvement. Located in the courtyard area behind the village high school building and surrounded by classroom windows, the garden is comprised of three areas. Most prominently in the space stands a large four-season hoop house that produces salad greens, herbs, and tomatoes, which are used by the school lunch program and teachers to expose students to fresh foods. A permaculture garden is the second area of the school garden, featuring fruit trees, flowering plants beneficial to pollinators, and perennial herbs. The third area is a space for three-season outdoor planting, which will include giant sunflowers, root crops, and other warm-season crops.  In the summer months the goal of the Central Lake Garden is to “oversummer” root vegetables, squash and other fall harvest foods so that they are ready for harvest when students return.

Michigan Land Use Institute

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Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
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