The mission of the School Garden Apprenticeship is to provide job preparedness skills for high school teens with the long term goal that participants will receive enough training and hands-on experience that it could inspire a career path linked to sustainable agriculture and eventually a viable pathway for employment. By promoting opportunities for teens to develop a skill set that inspires a connection to place and the natural cycles of the seasons, we believe this Apprenticeship will cultivate leadership, confidence and resilience in our youth.
The School Garden Apprenticeship weaves together on-the-job training in gardening and irrigation installation to high school teens, with individual and group development projects that may extend to the larger community. SGN will offer a comprehensive introduction to gardening fundamentals that focus on seasonal tasks and projects, plants & propagation, garden design & infrastructure building, and irrigation design and installation. Exploring this information through the lens of school gardens offer a unique perspective with regards to setting, scale and function. In conjunction with school worksites, we will also integrate field trips to local farms and educational gardens as an opportunity to observe design, infrastructure and production at several scales and in various landscapes; thereby illustrating and emphasizing the importance of resourcefulness and adaptability for the resilient grower.
The School Garden Apprenticeship program directly supports and complements our Water Wise program, both in partnership with Harmony Farm Supply. Thanks to the expertise of irrigation specialists at Harmony Farm Supply we can offer eligible schools free irrigation design. This partnership also provides special pricing for school gardens on irrigation materials so that this funding goes a long way in the garden. Upgrading to an automated irrigation system helps prevent garden program staff burnout by freeing them from countless hours of hand watering, as well as encouraging water conservation on school campus.
Provide high school youth with meaningful employment that builds their job readiness capacity
Skill building with practical hands-on training in garden maintenance with emphasis on drip irrigation design and installation
Serve the needs of school gardens for much needed summer maintenance
Provide a pathway from the early experiences in school garden programs to degree programs in agriculture
Facilitate leadership opportunities for youth
2017 Program Results/Highlights:
TEAM: 9 Teen Apprentices; 1 Master Gardener volunteer, Steve Ehrman, who attended all irrigation installations; 1 SGN Staff Coordinator Sue Davis
Performed 12 school garden workdays in the Santa Rosa & Petaluma areas
Installed 7 irrigation systems to SGN Water-Wise grantees
2 workdays per week, Tuesdays & Thursdays, mid June – July
1 half-day irrigation training with Harmony Farm Supply at Ceres Community Garden
2017 Participating Schools:
Abraham Lincoln Elementary
Brook Haven Middle
Brook Hill Elementary
Corona Creek Elementary
Hilliard Comstock Elementary
Salmon Creek Middle
Steele Lane Elementary
Valley Vista Elementary
We'd like to acknowledge the generosity of Harmony Farm Supply and Joe & Linda Maloney for sponsoring this program! Without their support this program would not exist. THANK YOU!