State Summary 2016 — New Jersey
The New Jersey Agricultural Society's website was totally revised in 2016 to include 75 K-5 lesson plans that integrate the garden across the curriculum. These lessons can be found in Learning Through Gardening's Teacher Toolbox at: http://www.njagsociety.org/teacher-toolbox.html. There are lessons cover basic gardening knowledge, as well as lessons the link the garden with math, language arts, science, social studies, and health and nutrition. Previously. most of these lessons were only available to teachers whose schools had received a Learning Through Gardening grant. All of the lessons, plus a list of 100 fiction and non-fiction garden-related children's books, are now available to the general public.
Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs
In 2016, The New Jersey Agricultural Society's Learning Through Gardening (LTG) program awarded six new schoolwide grants to build vegetable gardens in preschools and elementary schools. A total of 35 schools were active in the program, including 23 in the three-year grant program and 12 schools that have graduated from the three program but choose to stay connected.
Kick-off pep rallies designed to build enthusiasm for the new school gardens were held at the new schools and workshops were held for these schools' teachers designed to show them how to get started teaching about the garden and how to integrate garden lessons and activities across the curriculum in everyday lessons.
About 500 students from 20 schools participated in LTG's annual poster and essay contest celebrating Farm-City week. Fifty teachers from LTG schools attended a Best Practices workshop in June to share their garden strategies, stories, successes, and lessons.
LTG continued its indoor winter gardening initiative, launched the previous year, of supplying teachers with seeds and other supplies to conduct garden-related activities and lessons in December, January, and February, reaching about 3,000 students.
The New Jersey state contact reached about 250 New Jersey teachers at the annual New Jersey Education Association convention, through workshops and a booth set up to answer questions and give information about school gardening.
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
Approximately 11,257 students were given the opportunity to grow and harvest their own vegetables in a Learning Through Gardening vegetable garden.
About 977 teachers were given access to Learning Through Gardening curriculum and training.
About 500 students participated in the program's annual poster and essay contest.
About 250 teachers received information about school gardening from the New Jersey state contact at the New Jersey Education Association's annual convention.
Carolyn Taylor joined the New Jersey Agricultural Society's Learning Through Gardening program as its new director in August 2013. She is a graduate of West Chester University with a certification in elementary education from Rider University. Ms. Taylor was an elementary teacher for seven years and is a certified Master Gardener. Her experience also includes work as a journalist and financial editor. As program director, Ms. Taylor provides educational support to teachers involved in the Learning Through Gardening program. She creates and distributes curriculum designed to help teachers in grades preschool-5 integrate gardening and garden activities into their everyday curriculum in all subjects. She also develops and presents professional development workshops for Learning Through Gardening teachers that focus on increasing the agricultural literacy of students by incorporating agriculture in lessons across the curriculum.