School gardens are living laboratories that create teaching opportunities for nutrition, agriculture, and experiential education across all disciplines. School gardens can be an indoor herb garden in a windowsill of a classroom, outdoor raised beds, in-ground farms, or even a greenhouse. Gardening helps children discover where food comes from and develop healthy eating habits. Further, research shows that when a student plants a seed, they are more likely to taste and try the food when it is ready to harvest, resulting in a greater acceptance of fruits and vegetables. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Farm Bureau Women’s leadership team are excited to offer the 2023 School Garden Contest for our state. Applicants may be any public and private: PK-12 school, early childhood education facility, and alternative learning environment.

Deadline to enter: 11:59 PM on Friday, September 8, 2023

This contest is sponsored by Oklahoma Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Team. You can find more information about the categories of the contest to see how your garden qualifies for the contest below:

Contest Categories

  • Best Overall School Garden:  This category recognizes schools that provided excellent education, harvest, and community connections using their local school garden during the school year. 
  • Best Education Based School Garden:  This category recognizes schools that provided exemplary hands-on education using the school garden during the 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 school garden club, field trips, farmer visits, etc. 
  • Best Harvest Partnership School Garden:  This category recognizes schools that use both school garden produce and locally grown produce from Oklahoma or surrounding areas in their meals during the school year. The locally grown food is incorporated in the regular menu, features monthly through a program like Tasteful Harvest and tasted in a taste test to gather student input on potentially new menu items for unique Oklahoma Grown products.  
  • Best Community Collaboration School Garden:  This category recognizes schools that have a variety of community collaborations during the school year. Stakeholders from nearby farms, businesses, non-profits, and/or organizations participate in a school garden committee, provide donations/grants, lead classroom and cafeteria presentations, and more. 
  • Best Start-up School Garden Proposal:  This category recognizes schools that will be breaking ground on their garden in the upcoming school year. Please note, there should not be a garden already established. Schools must have achievable goals, clear maintenance plans, and activities listed to provide education, harvest, and community connections using the school garden. 

Awards for each category:

Best Start Up Garden Category     1 @ $500
Best Education Based  Category  1 @ $500
Best Harvest Partnership Category 1 @ $500
Best Community Collaboration Category 1 @ $500
Best Overall Category 1 @ $1000