Seed to Table is a year-round program of garden-based education for K-5th grades and is designed to get kids learning about the world through firsthand experiences. Working in the garden, students are challenged to interact with each other in new ways and cooperate to work toward a common goal in an environment that encourages exploration, play, and creativity. As children learn about caring for food plants and the soil, classes demonstrate to youth that what they do matters—a lot—to the world around them and to their own lives.
At the core of the program are 120 standards-aligned lessons (both Common Core and CA state) that bring to life concepts taught in the classroom, and encompass everything a child can learn through the process of planting, tending, harvesting, investigating, cooking and eating plants. Using these outdoor living laboratories, students investigate concepts ranging from photosynthesis to global warming to the diabetes epidemic.
Students in the program visit the garden for hour-long lessons every other week throughout the entire school year, and each grade focuses on a unique Science theme, while other subjects are also covered such as Literacy and Math. Teachers do the “getting ready” portion of each lesson in the classroom, and then the GSF Garden Coordinator co-teaches the hands-on garden portion alongside them. Follow-up activities bring the garden experience back into the classroom, creating further opportunities for deeper exploration and learning. At the end of the 6 years in the program, students have developed both a broad knowledge of and appreciation for the natural world as well as a depth of knowledge about the environment’s most fundamental processes like Life Cycles, Ecosystems, and Adaptations. Students also harvest and prepare delicious, seasonal recipes right there in the garden using simple but fascinating tools like solar ovens and bicycle blenders. We use the process of cooking not only to develop lifetimes of healthy eating habits but as a creative and immensely fun platform for Scientific inquiry and experimentation.
A typical month in October would include the following classes held in the garden for each K-5th grade:
Kindergarden Diversity and Living Things
- Garden Bingo Charades Students play a game of bingo – involving charades – as a way to reinforce the many ways people grow and tend plants.
- Recipe: Applesauce
1st Grade Needs of Living Things
- Seasons in the Garden Students begin a year-long exploration of seasonal changes in the garden.
- Recipe: Apple and Persimmon Salad
2nd Grade Life Cycles of Living Things
- Life Cycle Scavenger Hunt Student teams find living things in the garden that represent different stages of plant and animal life cycles.
- Recipe: Snap Pea Hummus
3rd Grade Adaptations and Living Things
- Worm Biographies After observing Red Wiggler worms and learning about their adaptations, students find their own Red Wiggler and create a story about it.
- Recipe: Black Bean Bicycle Blender Soup
4th Grade The Web of Life
- Food Chain Game Students learn about food chains in the garden by playing the Living Food Chain game and then looking for examples of food chains in teams.
- Recipe: Solar Oven Beet Chips
5th Grade Investigations
- The Bean Hypothesis Students compare the roots of a legume plant (like pea, bean, or clover) with those of a non-legume plant and develop hypotheses based on their observations.
- Recipe: Raw Corn and Radish Salad
In addition to our core in-school education program, Seed to Table extends beyond the school day to offer after-school art, garden, and Science clubs; recess and lunch activities; Professional Development opportunities for teachers; and Community Workdays. We also partner with other organizations that can offer additional classes and workshops for parents and other community members like Tree People, UC Master Gardeners, Voices for Action, and more.