FREE Volunteer Training with School Gardens – Sept 8th & 9th, 2017

The first Volunteer Training of the new school year is coming up very soon!
School Gardens staff members are looking forward to meeting new
friends, as well as welcoming back familiar ones.

Two identical sessions are offered:
– Friday, September 8th, 9:00 to noon –
– Saturday, September 9th, 9:00 to noon –

Register by sending an email to and
specifying which day you plan to attend.

Spring 2017 Garden programs begin March 6th, 2017

Weekly Spring Garden programs begin on Monday, March 6th, 2017
– this means a lot of good things, including weekly volunteer opportunities!

If you haven’t volunteered with us before, please email our Volunteer Coordinator and
we’ll get you plugged in with the garden or activity that’s right for you and your schedule.

Every hour you’re able to contribute as a volunteer – whether it’s on a weekly, monthly, or even an
annual basis – makes a difference in the lives of kids and families in our community.

Produce Sale every Wednesday through September

Produce Sale SUMMER

Each week produce is harvested from 16 gardens for Wednesday sales at Northlake.

Student farmers are eager to sell you their berries, tomatoes, peas, greens, herbs, and cut flowers; as the summer progresses we’ll have peppers, figs, grapes, squash, cucumbers, plums, and more.

Low prices –

Beautiful produce –

Top-notch customer service


Starts June 22!


Click the image for details. Contact Ian if you still have a question.

Schedule for Summer Garden programs and Adopt-a-Garden

We’re coming up on the final week of Spring programs in School Gardens, which also means that Summer Garden programs will be starting soon.

We are also in need of families to adopt gardens for a week this summer. Adopting a garden means that you help take care of it for a week (or more!) – watering every few days (depending on the temperature), and harvesting what is ripe and ready to be picked. Gardening expertise or experience is not necessary! Once you have signed up we will review watering and harvesting with you before your scheduled week arrives.

There are so many different opportunities to volunteer or participate this summer – see the schedule below and contact if you still need more information. All garden activities and programs are FREE.

Summer Garden Schedule 2016

School Garden Summer Schedule 2016 can be downloaded here.

School Garden Plant Sale is coming soon – Saturday May 7th

On your marks…get set…garden!

The School Garden Plant Sale is happening on Saturday, May 7th from 9 am to 1 pm.
There will be many kid-grown plants to choose from – Veggies, Herbs, Flowers, Perennials – as well as natives, edibles and ornamental plants from our friends at Watershed Garden Works!

It’s going to be a great time at the Northlake Elementary Garden at 2210 Olympia Way in Longview to benefit School Gardens and help us continue to connect kids and families with real food and hands-on learning. Join us for live music, tours of the garden and orchard, and meet garden rabbits Sam and Sorrel.


Spring Garden Programs begin week of March 7

Spring Garden Programs begin the second week of March, which means weekly volunteer opportunities!
If you haven’t volunteered with us, please email to tell us particular times you’re available – weekly, monthly, or even annually – every hour makes a difference in the lives of kids and families in our community.

School Gardens Spring 2016 image

Print your own copy: School Gardens Spring 2016

Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat signs help make School Gardens a haven for pollinators

Students show off yellow kale flowers favored by many pollinator species, in front of their school garden
Carrolls students show off yellow kale flowers favored by many pollinator species, in front of their School Garden.

Earlier this year, The Xerces Society of Portland generously donated Pollinator Habitat signs for all of our School Gardens. Posting these signs with students has started a number of profound conversations about the vital role that pollinators play in our gardens and our food supply.

A pollinator habitat sign proudly displayed in the Huntington School Garden
A pollinator habitat sign proudly displayed in the Huntington School Garden.

For some students, these conversations have made them less fearful of insects that they thought were only made for stinging, and others have become more interested in paying attention to the small differences between various kinds of pollinators. The signs have also been a good reminder to simply be aware of the helpers in our gardens that are not always easy to see.

Not all bees are yellow and black - this species of sweat bee is a beautiful metallic green. Photo by Hillary Jensen.
Not all bees are simply yellow and black – this species of sweat bee is a beautiful metallic green. Photo by Hillary Jensen.

Students have helped to create a great deal of pollinator habitat in school gardens by planting many flowers and other plants crucial to their survival.



Thank you, Xerces Society!

To help protect an essential part of our environment, take the Pollinator Pledge and order a Pollinator Habitat sign for your own garden.

A "Thank You" for Xerces decorated by Carrolls students.
A “Thank You” for Xerces decorated by Carrolls students.











$250k Kaiser grant expands School Gardens for Longview and Kelso


December 1, 2015

Kaiser Permanente Northwest Awards Grant to Cowlitz County Health Department
Cowlitz County Health Department’s (CCHD) Office of Healthy Communities received $250,000 over
the next three years to partner with Lower Columbia School Gardens and the Longview and Kelso
School Districts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for school-age children. This collaborative
project will expand access to school garden activities and curricula for children and their families.

This grant will allow Lower Columbia School Gardens to expand their capacity to serve more children in
our county through their 14 school-based gardens, and to integrate their programs and activities more
fully into the school environment. Longview and Kelso School Districts will be able to fully utilize school
gardens as an educational and community resource.

“We are grateful to Kaiser Permanente for this opportunity to engage even more kids in our school
gardens. We know that school gardens work; kids are more likely to eat and enjoy fruit and vegetables
they grow themselves, and they get excited about healthy cooking and eating as they learn about
where real food comes from and how it’s grown. We see that reality in our work every day, and this
new partnership will allow us to share that experience with more children, teachers and families in our
community,” says Ian Thompson, Executive Director of Lower Columbia School Gardens.

Kaiser Permanente Northwest is dedicated to improving the health of individuals and the communities
they serve. Specifically, their work is focused on connecting low-income people to health care,
educating children and families about healthy eating and active living, creating and sharing
groundbreaking research, strengthening health safety nets in communities, and supporting their employees’ community engagement.

CCHD provides broad-spectrum public health services to Cowlitz County residents aimed at improving
and protecting the health and well-being of individuals of all ages. To contact the Health Department,
please call 360-414-5599.

CCHD Official Press Release

October is for Harvest Festivals

The month of October was chock full of fun and goodness in the world of School Gardens. Most months of the year we delight in bringing real food and hands-on learning to hundreds of students on a weekly basis, but do you know what makes October so special?…

Harvest Festivals!

School Garden Harvest Festivals only happen once a year and call for “all hands on deck” to make them work. That means all of our School Garden volunteers, PTO members, staff, AmeriCorps members, parents and many of our board members show up to help. This year, our biggest year yet, nine elementary schools were able to participate.

That means every student at those 9 schools:

  • made and drank fresh apple cider
  • ground corn into cornmeal and wheat berries into flour
  • ran the straw bale obstacle course
  • shucked fresh corn
  • ate roasted garden veggies and corn-on-the-cob
  • listened and danced to live music
  • learned more about real food

…all in their School Gardens.

Once again, none of these opportunities for our local students to experience real food and hands-on learning could happen without the support of so many people and businesses in this community. Thank you!

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