School fruit and vegetable gardens

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help promote healthy childhood environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Allow students to garden during school or non-school hours with staff guidance, generally on school grounds
  • Typically accompanied by nutrition education, food preparation lessons, and tasting opportunities
  • Can provide students with hands-on learning opportunities

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • Increased vegetable consumption and willingness to try new vegetables

Best practices in implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Teachers and school administrators use school fruit and vegetable gardens to build experiential curriculum around health and nutrition. Partnerships with organizations focused on food education and food justice can help build these curricula.
  • School garden programs should also include activities like farmers' visiting schools, field trips to farms, in-class lessons and tastings, and recipe building activities.
  • School garden interventions often improve home availability of fruits and vegetables for low-income families.
  • Teachers and gardening instructors should be provided with training, informational and financial support to implement in-class methods and other activities.