Resources for Educators
The following curriculum resources were selected with the following criteria in mind:
- The materials are available for free in a widely accessible format.
- The materials are adaptable and/or specific to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest (with consideration to particularities of bio-region).
- The materials are place-based, encourage hands-on learning, and are tied to academic content standards where appropriate.
Materials are listed approximately in order of grade level, with Pre-K first and High School last.
Harvest for Healthy Kids
- Age group: Pre-Kindergarten
- Academic standards: Aligned with early learning standards.
Structure: The program connects young children with fresh food grown close to home through activity kits that teach science, math and literacy. Thirteen activity kits focus on a different fruit or vegetable, each with an activity plan, picture cards, recipes, teacher newsletter, and family newsletters in Spanish, Russian and English.
Growing Minds: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program
- Age group: Preschool
- Academic Standards: Aligned with NC Early Learning and Development Goals
- Structure: Twenty-three hands-on, food-focused lessons for year-round garden learning. Each lesson is focused on seasonal produced connected to early literacy with connected books. Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program is based in Asheville, NC.
- Age group: Grades K-5
- Standards: National Academic Standards
- Structure: The FoodCorps Lessons include hands-on experiential activities to engage kids in learning about healthy food. This suite of 96 lessons are for grades K-5, and are organized by grade, season and theme. The lessons are tied to national academic standards and were developed following Culturally Responsive Teaching, Place Based Learning and Social and Emotional Learning best practices and frameworks. Each lesson was developed with input from FoodCorps service members, community partners and resource specialists, and have been evaluated and updated to reflect recommendations from our community of food educators. This suite of lessons is intended to guide food and garden educators to spark inquiry and love for healthy food and should be adapted to reflect the needs, identity and culture of the community in which they are taught.
for free downloads: https://lifelab.org/store/free-downloads/
- Age group: Grades K-8
- Standards: Tied to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards
- Structure: Based in Santa Cruz, CA, Life Lab has led the national movement in experiential garden education for over 35 years. Offering professional development and trainings through workshops and webinars, YouTube videos demonstrating garden pedagogy and hands-on activities, free, downloadable lessons as well as award-winning publications for purchase.
Center for Ecoliteracy
- Age Group: Grades K-12
- Standards: Some lessons tied to California State Standards
- Structure: Based in Berkeley, CA, the Center for Ecoliteracy, is an educational nonprofit that advances ecological education in K-12 schools through educator workshops and trainings, strategic consulting, educational publications and online resources. Free, downloadable lessons and activities focused on sustainability, systems thinking, and ecological knowledge.
Eat Think Grow
- Age group: K-5
- Standards: Tied to Oregon State and Common Core Standards
- Structure: Comprehensive three seasons thematic units with three to six lessons per season. Lessons build on one another from year to year creating a cumulative curriculum for the length of a student’s elementary school experience
- Age Group: Grades Pre-K- 12
- Standards: Many, but not all lessons tied to Common Core and California State Standards
- Structure: Based in Berkeley, CA, Edible Schoolyard (founded by chef, Alice Waters), is a nonprofit dedicated to edible education in public schools throughout the country. Offering educator workshops and trainings as well as an incredible database of free, downloadable, hands-on lessons, activities, and recipes searchable by season, subject, and grade level.
School Garden Project of Lane County
- Age group: Grades K-6, with supplemental materials to allow for each lesson to be tailored to various ages.
- Academic Standards: Aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, and has also been revised to increase inclusivity and accessibility for students with special education needs.
NGSS in the Garden: Each lesson focuses on a key concept explored by a Performance Expectation from the NGSS. Each lesson (plant parts, garden habitat, soil composition, etc) provides background information and activity rotations in the garden, including hands-on inquiry stations, complimentary garden work, exploration and/or tasting, and educational games and activities. Each lesson also has suggested addition to adaptations to simplify, add complexity, or for rainy days.
STEM in the Garden: These five week long, ten lesson units revolve around the exploration of a single garden inspired topic of study. Each unit strives to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math through a variety of hands-on activities that build student knowledge, interest and engagements around the theme and STEM.
Rogue Valley Farm to School Curriculum
- Age group: Grades K-6
- Standards: Variable and loosely tied to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, not always made explicit
- Structure: Twenty-eight free lessons organized by grade level in spring and fall; many lessons sourced from other organizations (and credited). Rogue Valley Farm to School is based in Ashland, OR.
Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom
- Age group: Grades K-12
- Standards: Variable tied to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards
- Structure: Expansive collection of downloadable, stand-alone lesson plans and worksheets on hands-on activities as varied as Busy Bees and Living Necklaces to Worm Bins and Water filtration. Free lending library with activity kits and resources for lessons in the school garden.
Slow Food USA
- Age Group: Grades K-12
- Standards: Not tied to academic standards
- Structure: Slow Food USA is a nonprofit organization advocating for a Good, Clean and Fair food system for all. We support school gardens with school garden curriculum, partnerships and local food leaders through our 150 Slow Food chapters around the country.
Berkeley Public Schools Garden and Cooking Program
- Age group: TK - 8th
- Standards: Varying National Common Core & NGSS
- Structure: Lessons have a year-long Scope and Sequence plan. Each lesson is designed to be an interactive teaching tool, co-taught with classroom teachers and garden instructors as leads. These hands-on lessons 1) connect academics to real-world experiences; 2) include all learners; 3) invite curiosity; and 4) provide opportunities for reflection.
California Department of Education: Nutrition to Grow On
- Age group: Grades 4-6
- Standards: California Academic Content Standards
- Structure: Nine lessons are designed to teach children and their families about nutrition by relating each lesson to a garden activity. The curriculum uses the garden to integrate disciplines, including science, mathematics, language arts, history, environmental studies, nutrition, and health, while reinforcing some of the California academic content standards. School gardens are wonderful sources of food and beauty and outlets for physical activity; they can also help students discover fresh food and learn to make healthier food choices. Nutrition to Grow On taps into these instructional gardens to cultivate the students’ talents and skills while enriching their capacities for observation and thinking.
Oregon State University: Growing Healthy Kids
- Age group: 2nd-3rd Grade
- Standards: Common Core
- Structure: Seven lessons focused on nutrition developed to be used with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) program of Oregon.
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center: A Handful of Seeds
- Age group: Grades 2 -6
- Standards: Aligned with California Educational Standards.
- Structure: Based in Occidental, CA. This guide contains 13 lessons on seed saving and gardening. Lessons encompass math, science, history and language arts. Within this guide, teachers can also find outstanding contextualization materials including both the history of seed saving as well as the particular “seed stories” of four plants (amaranth, corn, potatoes and yarrow).
Edible Schoolyard: Cooking with Curiosity
- Age Group: Grades 3-12 (ideally for middle school but adaptable)
- Standards: Aligned with Common Core State Standards
- Structure: We are excited to share Cooking with Curiosity a new curriculum written for both distance and in-person learning. It is designed to introduce students to cooking skills while building reflection practices so that they can cook confidently on their own terms. Cooking with Curiosity is a four-unit curriculum with approximately 40 lessons designed to be completed over the course of a semester.
Oregon Albacore Commission
- Age Group: 5th Grade
The Oregon Albacore Commission received a Farm to School Grant through the Oregon Department of Education and conducted a pilot project to introduce five Oregon fisheries to 5th grade students. Throughout the school year, students learned about Salmon, Groundfish (sole, rockfish, Pacific Whiting), Dungeness Crab, Albacore Tuna, and Pink Shrimp. Each fishery unit included guest speakers, slide presentations, posters, tasting opportunities, multi-disciplinary activity books, and a culminating Jeopardy game. The salmon and albacore units also included take-home dinner bags.
We are pleased to offer these seafood educational opportunities and resources in usable formats to everyone. Regardless of age, we’re sure that you will learn something new about the fisheries and have fun along the way.
Science in the Learning Gardens: NGSS-aligned, Garden-based Curriculum for Middle School (Portland State University); National Science Foundation Award: 2014-2017
Website: http://learning-gardens.org/curriculum/ (you will be required to enter your name, email and school and then you will be granted access to all the lessons immediately).
- Age Group: Grades 6-8
- Standards: Aligned with Next Generation Science Standards
- Structure: Science in the Learning Gardens (SciLG) is an NGSS-aligned, garden-based curriculum for the middle-school level, and a key component of a longitudinal research project (see Science in the Learning Gardens in research section of *******). SciLG makes issues such as climate change and sustainable food systems relevant, accessible, and engaging through hands-on experience with problem-solving and inquiry. SciLG was developed and piloted at two low-income middle schools that serve predominantly racial and ethnic minority students in Portland, Oregon.
Oregon State University: Food for Thought
- Age group: High School
- Standards: Variable tied to Oregon State Standards
- Structure: Twenty free lessons that incorporate reading comprehension and hands-on activities for science, social studies, and language arts. This high school curriculum explores the research that brings food to the table in an Oregon-style feast, from seafood and beef to berries. In addition, the curriculum examines food-related concerns, such as hunger in Oregon, food safety, GMOs, and nutrition education.
John Hopkins Center for a Sustainable Future
- Age group: 6-12
- Standards: National Education Standards Aligned
- Structure: "Teaching the Food System from Farm to Fork" Each of the 17 lessons includes a warm-up, one or more main activities, a reflection, and optional extensions that can serve as homework assignments or projects. FoodSpan is designed so teachers can work through the entire curriculum or teach lessons individually.
Kids Gardening: Compost Your Way
- Age group: High School
- Standards: N/A
- Structure: In this stand-alone lesson plan students will explore different ways to compost food scraps by researching and/or experimenting with different types of compost systems.
Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy: Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum
- Age group: High School
- Standards: Varying National Common Core
- Structure: Six free lessons, each containing a lesson summary, a list of lesson activities, lesson outcomes, facilitator preparation notes, a materials and equipment list, additional resources, detailed facilitator descriptions of core activities, additional recommended activities, a chart of the lesson’s alignment to national academic standards and worksheets and handouts for students. The lessons can be taught consecutively over a semester or facilitators can choose to use single lessons or activities as they complement their classes. Activities are interdisciplinary, and may fit into classes focused on Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Social Studies, Economics, Health, Science or other subjects.