Grow a Pizza Garden
Grow a pizza garden with nutrient-rich ingredients for a pizza with students’ favorite toppings. Work with foodservice staff to create a recipe for pizza using your harvest, whole-grain crust and lower-fat cheese; then have a classroom or school-wide pizza party! You might name your pizza and add it to the school menu, or include your pizza at Fuel Up to Play 60 or other school-related celebrations.
How Does It Work?
A pizza garden can help highlight all the delicious parts of a pizza — the whole grain crust, the low-fat cheese and the delicious vegetables you’ll grow.
The following steps are suggestions for how to complete the Play — but they can be done in any order or combination and can be altered to fit your needs. If you find ways to adapt this Play to fit your school, share it with us through the Tips section!
- Work with school administrators and custodial staff to identify a place for your pizza garden.
- Work with your team to conduct a poll of the student body to determine what should be included in your garden! Consider the best seasons for what you want to plant according to where your school is located. Think about contacting a local farmer or gardening expert for advice on what grows well where you live.
- Coordinate with science teachers to use the garden as an environmental science lab where students can create experiments that may improve growth.
- Use resources like this School Garden Checklist to help.
- Contact local farmers for advice. They may also be able to help you with supplies you will need, like compost, to grow a fruitful garden.
- Create a design for your garden. Think about designing it in the shape of a pizza, with each slice dedicated to a different ingredient. Plan your garden according to your school’s site and your goals. Will it be a container garden, a window box or in-ground?
- Decide what you will need for your pizza garden. What tools will be required? Will you start your garden from seed or use plants?
- Work with your dietitian and nutrition professionals to identify which items can be grown and offered on school menus. Remember: Climate is important and not everything may be able to grow in your area.
Get Some Help
- Reach out to community members who might be able to help. Solicit donations from local businesses, garden supply stores or farms.
- Solicit tool and supply donations through a wish list you can post on your school website or twitter feed for friends and family to help. Individuals, families and community members can donate something as small as a pair of scissors or as big as a garden shed.
- Sign up student volunteers to plant, tend to and harvest your garden.
- Work with school nutrition professionals to create a recipe for your garden pizza. Think about doing a taste test of different types of pizza using ingredients from your garden, along with whole grain crust and lower-fat cheese. Talk with your foodservice staff — maybe your garden pizza recipe can be put on your school’s menu!
Keep It Going
- Sign up volunteers to maintain your garden when school is closed. Reach out to parents and families for help with watering, weeding and harvesting from your garden. Research what you will need to do to care for it so it’s ready for next year!
- Create a "Farm to School Pizza Counter" in the cafeteria an doffer samples of the various sample pizzas with ingredient grown by the students.
- Have students create their own window pizza herb garden to use at home. They can include such favorites as basil, oregano and thyme.
- Promote your program on local farm and school websites and on social media as appropriate. Consider doing a "Pizza of the Day" campaign in your school and/or on social media to show everyone that day's nutritious toppings.
- Classroom or Cafeteria Activity Idea: Have students list all of the available pizza toppings. Assign a number to each topping. Using a die with that number or sides, have students roll 3-5 times to come up with a unique combination of toppings and then think of a name for the pizza. For example, a pizza with spinach, garlic and olives might be called a Popeye!
Spread the Word
Take pictures as your garden develops and post them on your school’s website. Include pictures of the planting, pictures of your classmates and community volunteers tending to it as it grows and plenty of pictures of the foods you harvest!
Get the word out on your school's website, blog, in your school eNewsletter (or Newsletter) and on social media! Share student stories, videos and pics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tagging FUTP 60 (FB: @FuelUptoPlay60; IG and TW: #FUTP60) and using #FuelGreatness! When you make your first pizzas with the help of your school's dietitian, be sure to post those, and the recipes too!
Have student ambassadors set up a table at a local farmer's market with pizza samples, information about their pizza garden, and visuals (diagrams or photographs) to encourage support of their program and to share the idea with other students and schools.
Get Others Involved
Everyone can help:
- Set up and conduct the poll
- Work with school staff to determine the garden site
- Solicit donations from local businesses
- Design, plant and care for the garden