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, June 7, 2024

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 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 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. Schools must have achievable goals, clear maintenance plans, and activities listed to provide education, harvest, and community connections using the school garden.

  • Best Harvest School Garden:
    This category recognizes schools that utilize their garden harvest to help students understand the important health benefits of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. Through harvesting the garden, students have the opportunity to understand the natural growth of plants — from seeds to sprouts to flowers to fruits — and learn firsthand the connection between nature, and their food supply.  Students are encouraged to taste the harvested produce encouraging them to establish healthy eating habits.   

  • Best Pollinator Garden:
    This category recognizes schools that have established a school pollinator garden that is planted predominately with flowers that provide nectar or pollen for a wide range of pollinating insects. The use of this garden is to help students better understand the important role pollinators play in our ecosystem along with exposing students to new ideas about food, wildlife, and plants.

Awards for each category:

Best Start-up Garden Category     1 @ $1000
Best Education Based Category  1 @ $500
Best Harvest School Category 1 @ $500
Best Community Collaboration Category 1 @ $500
Best Pollinator Garden 1 @ $500