Department of Agriculture
Supporting Arkansas farmers and ranchers while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of Arkansas, the nation, and across the globe
Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest
The Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest was initiated by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas in 2014. The program provides the opportunity to promote the importance of involving young people in the process of fresh food production and cultivation. Farm Credit generously provides the funding for program award recipients.
There are six categories of winners in the Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest:
- Champion of School Garden Sustainability ($1000 award): This category recognizes schools that previously won a contest category and that have woven the school garden program into the foundation of the school culture. The school details how it has continued to provide quality education, harvest, and community connections using the school garden. Previous winners from 2014 - 2021, except Start-Up, are only eligible for this category.
- Best Overall School Garden ($1000 award): This category recognizes schools that provided excellent education, harvest, and community connections using their school garden during the previous school year.
- Best Education Based School Garden ($500 award): This category recognizes schools that provided exemplary hands-on education using the school garden during the previous school year. This can be seen by integrating garden instruction into classroom curriculum, frequent hands-on opportunities for students to learn about nutrition, gardening, cooking, and/or agriculture, and through other educational opportunities such as a school garden club, field trips, farmer visits, etc.
- Best Harvest Partnership School Garden ($500 award): This category recognizes schools that use both school garden produce and locally grown produce from Arkansas farms in their meals during the previous school year. The locally grown food is incorporated in the regular menu, featured monthly through a program like Harvest of the Month/Season, and tasted in a taste test to gather student input on potentially new menu items or unique Arkansas Grown products.
- Best Community Collaboration School Garden ($500 award): This category recognizes schools that had a variety of community collaborations during the previous school year. Stakeholders from nearby farms, businesses, non-profits, and/or organizations participated in a school garden committee, provided donations/grants, led classroom and cafeteria presentations, and more.
- Best Start-up School Garden Proposal ($500 award): This category recognizes schools that will be breaking ground on their garden in the upcoming school year. Schools must have achievable goals, clear maintenance plans, and activities listed to provide education, harvest, and community connections using the school garden.
If you have any questions please contact Jessica Chapman (email@example.com), Farm to School Coordinator.
Congratulations to the 2021 Arkansas School Garden winners!