State Summary 2015 — New Jersey
The "Learning Through Gardening curriculum booklet Gardening Across the Curriculum" was expanded with additional lesson plans in 2015. The booklet now includes 75 lessons that teach the basics of vegetable gardening as well as integrate the garden and agriculture with math, science, social studies,language arts,and health A list of 100 titles of fiction and non-fiction children's books that address garden-related subjects is also included, Some of these lessons, along with a featured 'Lesson of the Month' can be found on the New Jersey Agricultural Society's website: www.njagsociety.org
Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs
In 2015, The New Jersey Agricultural Society's Learning Through Gardening (LTG) program awarded six new schoolwide grants to build vegetable gardens in elementary schools. This brings to 30 the number of schools currently in LTG's three-year grant program.
Kick-off pep rallies designed to build enthusiasm for the new school gardens were held at the new elementary 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 100 students from 18 schools participated in LTG's annual poster and essay contest celebrating Farm-City week. Thirty-five teachers from LTG schools attended a Best Practices workshop in June to share their garden strategies, stories, successes, and lessons.
LTG launched an indoor winter gardening initiative, supplying teachers with seeds and other supplies to conduct garden-related activities and lessons in December, January, and February.
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
Approximately 8027 students were given the opportunity to grow and harvest their own vegetables in a Learning Through Gardening vegetable garden.
About 726 teachers were given access to Learning Through Gardening curriculum.
About 100 students participated in the program's annual poster and essay contest.
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.