From our friends at EdWeb:

Join us for the next Growing School Gardens webinar!

Tuesday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time
Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden Program
Presented by John Fisher, Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab; with Kevin Hesser, Middle School Teacher and Co-Director of Gardens to Grow In

In This Session
There is no one way to fund a garden program – there are hundreds! In this webinar, Life Lab’s John Fisher and Gardens to Grow In’s Kevin Hesser will share a wide variety of ideas to finance your school garden program. From finding grants and supportive policy, to school garden micro-enterprise and farm-raisers, their discussion will provide funding ideas for all aspects of your school garden, including garden supplies and staffing school garden instructors. John and Kevin’s presentation will share examples of how they have funded the school garden programs that they run, along with insight from other successful garden programs. Topics will include:

  • Tools for creating a garden budget
  • Telling your story
  • Garnering school or district support
  • Cultivating donors
  • Farm and garden based fundraisers
  • Tips for finding grants
  • Policy that supports school garden programs
  • Innovative ways to fund a garden program
Join this live, interactive session to learn new ways to fund your new or existing school garden program. John and Kevin will field questions from attendees after their presentation.
To Participate in the Live Session
– This webinar will be recorded and archived in this community for viewing at anytime.
– As a member of the Growing School Gardens community, pre-registration is not required.
– Log in at www.instantpresenter.com/edwebnet11 at the scheduled time.
– Test your system for best quality: www.instantpresenter.com/systemtest
About the Presenters
John Fisher is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab. Through his work at Life Lab, John provides training and support to thousands of garden educators across the nation. John is a co-founder of the California School Garden and National School Garden Networks. He coordinates the garden program at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, California. Follow John on Twitter @lifelabtweets.
Kevin Hesser is a school teacher and garden coordinator in Calaveras Unified School District. He teaches art, gardening, and cooking at Toyon Middle School, and supports garden programs at several elementary schools and the high school farm. Kevin co-founded Gardens to Grow In, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports and promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles in Calaveras County schools and communities by teaching children and families how to grow and prepare healthy food through school and community garden based programs.
This program is co-hosted by the Edible Schoolyard Project, the National Farm to School Network, and Life Lab.
Visit our Google calendar to view all webinars this month.
Follow us on Twitter @edWebnet to learn about upcoming webinars and special events!

For the past 2 years, Imagine a Garden in Every School has celebrated School Garden Day on a Friday in May. This year, the date coincides with the World Biodiversity Day called by the United Nations.

We know that School Gardens represent Biodiversity by their very nature. Some grow food; some grow native wildflowers – but all engage children and youth with our real and changing world.


To highlight the convergence of food biodiversity in this year’s celebration, USC Canada has offered a free gift to the first 20 teachers/garden educators to register their school’s garden. All participants will receive a certificate. Here’s how to participate:

  1. First register your Ontario school garden at http://bit.ly/1FNsSl2to qualify for a prize from USC Canada – Biodiverse & Beautiful Beans!
  1. On Friday, May 22, hold an activity in or around/about your school garden. It can be simple or ambitious – it’s up to you! (Biodiversity!) Send pictures of your event to agardenineveryschool@gmail.com

3. The TOP SIX schools with the most student engagement in the garden on that day (percentage of school population, provide pictures) will receive a $75 gift certificate for Home Hardware (or local garden supply outlet), courtesy of the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network!

We’ll feature all pictures and school gardens on our blog as we receive them.

NOTE: If you had registered before, review your profile here and resubmit for 2015.

Twitter: @GardInSchools



USC Seed Gift



Biodiversity Education and Action Network

www.biodiversityeducation.ca = http://bit.ly/1OZ7LlT

caterTO Mochi

Mochi by @catertoronto (pictured)

Dips and crostinis, walnut brownies from @WestendFoodCoop
Savoury pastries and cookies from The Bus KItchen
healthy stuff from GTGK thanks to @the_bigcarrot & @fiestafarms with kitchen space thanks to @Paintbox_Bistro
Cookies, squares and loaf from Lemon and Allspice Bakery, a project of Common Ground Co-op @CGCCoop
Cookies from Alli’s
can’t wait! see you there… oh yes, and free door prizes to those who actually purchase advance tix! go to https://gtgk.eventbrite.ca/

by Sara Fegelman

It’s hard to believe that my time with Green Thumbs is already coming to end – and I’m only writing my first blog post now! These past 8 months have been unlike any in my life: challenging, inspiring, exhausting, and exhilarating. Completing my practicum placement with Green Thumbs has provided me with the space, tools, and support to grow my urban agriculture skills, while also upholding the values of anti-oppression, empowerment, and respect in which we ground our work in the Community Worker Program. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a team of dedicated and diverse staff, students, and volunteers, all of whom are wholeheartedly committed to growing gardens, minds, and relationships. We would often get lost in conversations that started with what to put in a vermicompost bin and end with sharing stories of personal struggle and liberation. Working with a group of people who share the same values and vision for food and social justice has been profoundly rewarding and inspiring.


Sara leading class tour through Allan Gardens

There are so many highlights to reflect on from the past 8 months, but for the sake of space, I’ll draw upon my hard earned skills of concision. Unparalleled was having the opportunity to develop, lead, and evaluate my own program from the ground up. Working with my fellow Community Worker-In-Training, we spent long days researching program ideas, developing a cohesive and engaging program plan, networking with local community organizations to participate, and gathering all of the materials to deliver our “Growing Up!” program. After all of our hard preparation work, we successfully led 4 chaotic yet extremely enjoyable sessions over March Break at the beautiful Allan Gardens Children’s Conservatory. 64 kids from ages 6 to 12 joined us from Central Neighbourhood House, Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club, and Regent Park South Community Centre, as we learned about plant parts, planted our own basil and kale seeds to take home, prepared our own pesto with kale and basil leaves, and went on a magical tour of the 5 greenhouses. It was such a treat to call the greenhouse home for a cold March week, and to share and learn so much from each of our young participants. It never ceases to amaze me how much information kids can soak up and how ready and willing they are to learn more!

I am eternally grateful for all of the wonderful learning and leading opportunities that I’ve had at Green Thumbs this year, but maybe even more so, for the meaningful and lasting relationships that I’ve developed and the community that we’ve built together.


Sara (right), after building new shed, with (l-r) Brad, Cassie and Mona

Here is a list of items received to date. There will be more!

– Silent auction bidding will take place from 1-3:45 at our event, at Allan Gardens Children’s Conservatory.
– We can accept cash or cheque
– Highest bidders will be able to take items home after silent auction closes. If highest bidder is not present then they will be contacted to co-ordinate a pick-up time.

GTGK Friendraiser

Silent Auction Items

Basket 1         Soups Up

Starting bid- $50 (Value- $175)

Thermaloy Deep Stock Pot & Lid

Cuisipro Stainless Steel Soup Ladle

Cuisipro Rasp Grater

Cuisipro Large Shaver

2 Ramen Bowls

Soup blend

Courtesy: Browne & Company

Basket 2         Body-ful

Starting bid- $80 (Value- $150)

Water Spa Day Pass             Courtesy: Body Blitz

LUSH products                      Courtesy: LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetic

Women’s Hair cut

Men’s Hair cut                       Courtesy: Lam Hair Spa

Basket 3         Ontario Grown 

Starting bid- $30 (Value- $60)

Especially Spirited Tour and Cider & Cheese tasting for 4 – Courtesy: Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon

A taste of Ontario- Ontario Greenhouse Growers cookbook

Greenbelt Heavy Canvas Tote Bag – Courtesy: Scott Cheslock & Friends

Basket 4         Eggs Beautiful      

Starting bid- $30 (Value- $60)

Kitchen Grips oven mitt

Cuisipro Egg Poacher

Emile Henri 1.4 liter Soufflé Dish


Cuisipro Balloon Whisk

Courtesy: Browne & Company

Basket 5         Flowers 

Starting bid- $30 (Value $75)

Floral arrangement

Courtesy: Fresh Floral Creations

Basket 6         Cocoa for you and your garden  

Starting bid- $15(Value $40)

Cocoa shells – Courtesy: ChocoSolTraders

2 Raw cocoa bars – Courtesy: ChocoSolTraders

Mexican handcrafts – Courtesy: Maheli Pacheco

Basket 7         Date Night  

Starting bid- $100 (Value $225)

Restaurant gift card ($50) – Courtesy: Pizzeria Libretto

2 Theatre tickets – Courtesy: Soulpepper Theatre

Basket 8         Tea and Cookies 

Starting bid- $40 (Value $90)

Tea & tea accessories – Courtesy: Davids Tea

Sweets – Courtesy: Daniel et Daniel

12 seasonal cookie cutters – Courtesy: Browne & Company

Basket 9         Cooking Moroccan   

Starting bid- $30 (Value $80)


Cuisipro 2-way Grater

Cuisipro Rasp Grater

Cuisipro Large Shavers

Courtesy: Browne & Company

Basket 10      Tech   

Starting bid- $50 (Value $150)

Blutooth speakers

Tablet prop

Courtesy: anonymous donor

Basket 11      Jewelry    

Starting bid- $50 (Value $85)

MMCrystal Necklace

Courtesy: anonymous donor

Basket 12      Garnet Jewelry          

Starting bid- $50 (Value $75 )

Garnet necklace, ring and earrings

Courtesy: anonymous donor

Basket 13      Gems       

Starting bid- $50 (Value $80)

Silver, marcasite, amethyst necklace and earrings set

Silver bracelet

Courtesy: anonymous donor

Basket 14      Wine Kit  

Starting bid- $20 (Value $50)

Wooden gift box with wine opening paraphernalia

Bottle of Prince Edward county wine

Courtesy: anonymous donor

Basket 15      Artwork    

Starting bid- $10 (Value $25)

Hand stitched tapestry

Courtesy: anonymous donor

Basket 16      Shopping        

Starting bid- $50 (Value $100)

$100 Roots Gift Card

Courtesy: Roots Canada

Basket 17     Cycling

Starting bid: $40 (Value $80)

Lezyne Steel Floor Drive Hand Pump

Courtesy: Cycle Solutions

2015 (2)

Green Thumbs Growing Kids is very pleased to announce that we have been awarded a Vital Ideas grant from the Toronto Foundation. This important award recognizes us and 17 other recipients as “high-impact organizations that build on successful methods of service delivery and continually adapt and innovate.” Further, we “work for social change by addressing the root causes of the trends identified in Toronto’s Vital Signs® Report.”

We will use the grant to modernize our website and make a short video, in order to spread our message and be able to support more learning gardens in the future. Learning gardens support health and wellness by encouraging consumption of fruits and vegetables, and learning gardens support environmental sustainability by teaching about and growing more food locally in the city. We are deeply thankful to the Toronto Foundation’s Vital Toronto Fund and the John and Jocelyn Barford Foundation at the Toronto Foundation.


Call for Division! Native Plant Divisions for our Biodiversity Corner

This fall, Green Thumbs is setting roots in Regent Park. In October, we will run our BiodiverCity Program in a new greenhouse and a new green space. With the help of Grade 6 students, we want to improve the biodiversity in the park by creating the Biodiversity Corner. We also need your help to transform the turf into a native plant garden. If you have native plants in your garden and feel like sharing, bring us some of your divisions! We are looking for seven specific species:

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

monardaWild Bergamot has violet flowers, dented leaves, and square stems.

New England Aster (Symphyotricum novae-angliae)

AsterNew England Aster has small bright purple petals, skinny pointy leaves, and a dark stem.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

butterfly weed Butterfly Milkweed has multiple bright orange flowers, hairy large leaves, and a long hairy stem.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

echinacea Purple Coneflower has big pink petals, large pointy leaves, and sturdy stems.

Virginia Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)

mountain mint Virginia Mountain Mint has small light purple flowers, long narrow leaves, and wiry green square stems.

Black –eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)


Black-eyed Susan has yellow petals, large coarse leaves, and sturdy stems.

Orange Daylily (Hemerocalis fulva)

daylily Orange Daylily has six orange petals, long narrow leaves, and a long stem.

If you have divisions of any of these species to donate, please label them, and bring them to Winchester School-Community Garden at the corner of Winchester St. and Rose Ave., Cabbagetown, or contact us at programs (at) kidsgrowing.ca. Please do not donate other varieties without contacting us first!

Thank you very much for your generosity and your contribution to our Biodiversity Corner!