School Gardens Case Study

A New Approach

In January 2014, the Pittsburg Unified School District became the first to take advantage of a newly-revised school gardens program offered by the UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County.  Here is their story.

About Recent Program Changes:

The UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa (MGCC) recently initiated a new approach in its School Gardens Program.  For Contra Costa County schools where 50% or more of the students are eligible for free or subsidized school lunches, UC Master Gardeners and UC Nutrition educators partner together to provide both nutrition education and Master Gardener support in the creation of on-site school gardens. 

MGCC helps schools create sustainable edible gardens, expanding students’ nutritional options and allowing curricula to be linked to garden activities, a proven method of improving academic performance. We provide a combination of:

  • horticultural education using research-based UC Agriculture & Natural Resources Division knowledge, including its integrated pest management guidelines, and
  • hands-on assistance in the actual creation of edible gardens, including companion plantings.

In addition to consulting with a school garden team, a UC Master Gardener (MG) becomes an active member of that school garden team as their “point person”.

Pittsburg High students digging out the weeds.
Pittsburg High students digging out the weeds.