School personnel will be better equipped to start school gardens next spring by participating in a four-session course offered by University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit.  The first class will be held on Tuesday, December 10 at 6 p.m. in the Extension office in Peoria.  The topic will be “What you need to start a school garden.”

A breakdown of session topics includes:

  • Session 1: Dec 10 - What you need to start a school garden: Grants/funding & Partners/volunteers
  • Session 2: Jan 14 - School gardening basics: When and What to Plant
  • Session 3: Feb 13 - More than Just a Garden: Engaging Parents and Communities in Gardening/ Food Safety in the Garden 
  • Session 4: March 3 - Theme and Alternative Gardens: Incorporating art, nutrition, and youth components related to garden themes

“School gardens are a wonderful way to use the schoolyard as a classroom, reconnect students with the natural world and the true source of their food, and teach them valuable gardening and agriculture concepts and skills that integrate with several subjects, such as math, science, art, health and physical education, and social studies, as well as several educational goals, including personal and social responsibility.” (“Benefits of School Gardens.” Scoil Bhride NS, 2019,

You may register online at  The class is free and individuals or teams from a school are welcome to attend. Participants are encouraged to attend all four sessions.

For more information, contact Nicole Flowers-Kimmerle, Extension horticulture educator, at or 309-547-3711 or visit their website at