Garden Programs

When you add Farm to School programming to your summer garden program you can ramp up education and drive interest in gardening! 

Incorporate fun activities and lessons into summer programming and weekly garden maintenance by simply coordinating your summer garden harvest schedule to a weekly harvest celebration. Summer garden programs have an opportunity to tie what they’re producing to Harvest of the Month and utilize lessons and activities. Illinois Harvest of the Month gives you the tools to celebrate and educate all summer long. Share fun nutrition facts and history about each fruit, herb, and veggie you harvest. Create fun celebrations and tastings to get your summer garden experts excited about eating healthy! 

To register for this free summer program click here

Involve your community!

Do you know someone in your community with a green thumb? That’s a sure sign that they know and love growing food! Look for that local, summer gardener who is constantly sharing extra produce with their neighbors. Ask them to be a guest speaker to share their insights and expertise (and extra zucchinis!) with your summer program participants. Conduct a tasting to expose your kids to that just-picked taste of summer veggies! 

Need help to plan a successful tasting? Check out our free Taste Test Toolkit here

Don’t know a local gardener? Contact the Illinois Extension office in your county and search for a Master Gardener in your town or city. Active Master Gardeners must remain current in annual educational updates (a minimum of 10 hours) and volunteer service hours (a minimum of 30 hours) required by the local program. It’s a perfect fit!

Create fun summer celebrations!

Create fun summer celebrations linked to garden harvests and keep the fun in the sun going all summer long! Be creative and name your special fruit or veggie days by linking them to the month or to typical summer weather. Here are a few examples:

  • Sizzling summer salsa days – June
  • Stay cool as a cucumber days – July
  • Lazy days of summer spicy pepper celebration – August

Add a summer recipe to the program and let your kids taste your garden’s bounty. Summertime Cantaloupe Salsa or Cool Cucumber and Apple Salad are quick and easy to prepare and a perfect way to share a taste of fresh fruit, veggies and fresh herbs. Check them out when you join the IL Harvest of the Month Program.