Gardens: A Tool to End Hunger

Gardening: Why It Matters at School

1. Positive Social and Emotional Skills

Elementary students who participate in a one-year gardening program can show a significant increase in self-understanding, increased positive attitudes towards adults, increased interpersonal skills, and increased maturity compared to nonparticipating students.

2.  Healthy Eating and Nutrition

Children who grow their own food in a garden are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and tend to prefer these foods, which will greatly benefit their physical and mental development. Additionally, garden programs often include lessons on nutrition, resulting in greater knowledge about how healthy eating provides their body with what it needs in order to function.

3. Science Achievement and Attitude Towards Learning

Students who participate in school gardening activities tend to score significantly higher on science achievement tests than students who had a curriculum without garden experiences. Also, parent involvement increases at schools with gardening programs, which is shown to enhance student achievement.

4. Design Skills and Environmental Stewardship 

Young children can participate in formulating designs that make gardens beautiful, and older children can design and create gardens and garden programs with a wide variety of elements and principals. By working in a garden, students express an increased understanding of ecology, interconnections in nature, and responsibility to care for the environment.

5. Lifelong Benefits 

Students who engage in garden activities as children are more likely to participate in gardening activities throughout their lives.

 Learn more at: Children, Youth and Environments Center for Community Engagement at Colorado University

The Problem at Westminster

 My school’s website promotes how “The Westminster Greenhouse is a 2160 square foot structure that features southern exposure for optimal growing conditions and an 800- gallon rainwater collection cistern for watering plants.” While, indeed, the structure is 2160 square feet, there is no successful watering system, the plastic panels leave insulation problems, the flooring is not suitable for lab space, and there is not enough room for storage of tools and materials. This leaves the Westminster Community without a place to garden year-round, lacking a controlled environment for scientific research involving plant life, and unable to successfully encourage gardening and its many benefits.

Design Overview: A New Greenhouse

 I hope to renovate the greenhouse on my school’s campus. As previously mentioned, the greenhouse is barely functional and gets little classroom exposure. I hope to transform the greenhouse to a place that invites and intrigues students in the science department and wider school community, teachers, Westminster families, and extra-curricular clubs. These groups of individuals could all greatly benefit from an on campus greenhouse through learning about the natural life cycle of plants, botany, biology, recreation (planting/gardening), and overall encourage the appreciation of nature. I envision constructing the greenhouse with many materials that create a sense of familiarity and are welcoming. Reflective panels will be used on the exterior, reflecting all the trees and other plant life surrounding the building, but allowing light and a clear view to be seen from inside. The internal space will uphold science lab regulations of cleanliness and such, to ensure a safe and productive space for studies and recreation: enough spatial void for people to easily move around, paths that conduct traffic through the area well, several shelves and walls lined with plants to maximize space, aesthetically pleasing, and functional.

Material List/Cost for Renovation

 Shelves and Planting Boxes K5-XL750 LED Grow Light  Steel Frame  Sink/Plumbing  Soil  Crush n’ Run gravel Polycarbonate Panels BLACK+ DECKER Garden Cultivator Concrete Slabs Seeds (Misc.) Ventillation System
$2,000- $3,000 roughly $1246 x 3= $3738 $2.50 per linear foot $500 roughly $15 per cubic yard $860 total  $55 per 8×4 sheet  $84 $90 per cubic yard $200 per year $3,000 roughly

*based off interviews with teachers and staff at Westminster who work with all garden programs

 Images/SketchUp Drawings

The Current Greenhouse


My Proposed Greenhouse Model (Structure Only)


 DIY Greenhouses For Your School

Cut Bottle Mini Greenhouses

Cedar Branch Hoop Greenhouse

Hardware Fencing Hoop Greenhouse

Pallet Greenhouse


Cost: $5-$10 Cost: $30-$40 Cost: $100-$200 Cost: $500
Time Building: 1 minute Time Building: 30 minutes Time Building: 4 hours + Time Building:6-12 hours
Material List: Material List: Material List: Material List:

  1. Plastic Bottle
  2. Scissors
  3. Water/Seeds/Soil

  1. Cedar Branches
  2. Axe/Hatchet
  3. Roll of Greenhouse Plastic Tarp
  4. Planting Box
  5. Water/Seeds/Soil

  1. Straw Bales
  2. Roll of Greenhouse Plastic Tarp
  3. Cattle Panels
  4. Tie Wire
  5. Metal Fencing Poles
  6. Sledge Hammer
  7. Torch
  8. Water/Seeds/Soil


  1. Nails
  2. Decay Resistant Wood Panels
  3. Galvanized Plates
  4. Strapping
  5. Hinges
  6. Handles
  7. Latches
  8. Water/Seeds/Soil


Join the “Gardens: A Tool to End Hunger” Movement

I made the Pinterest board “Gardens For Change” in order for students from all over the world to join me in spreading awareness about community gardens and what they can do for us each day. To become a collaborator and editor on the board, comment your Pinterest user name in the comment section, and I will add you. Please upload images that show gardens in your community, gardens that inspire you, information on nutrition, produce you grew, greenhouse projects, or any image that relates to the end hunger movement. All are relevant and crucial in order to spread adequate awareness to a global audience.

For Further Questions Join the Live Talk

If you have any questions regarding my project please click the link below and ask away. I will be available for a live talk on Thursday, April 27th from 5:00-6:00 pm EST, but I will be able to periodically answer all posted questions throughout the weekend if you miss the live talk.


References On Building Greenhouses:

21 Amazing DIY Greenhouses with Great Tutorials

Learn More About Benefits of School Gardens:


Fact Sheet Summarizes Benefits of Gardening for Children

Image Sources:

Share this project
  1. April 27, 2017 by Juliet Allan

    Louise, it would be great to implement your suggestions! Have you passed these plans on to others in our community. I was also intrigued with the DIY Greenhouses. The cut bottle mini-greenhouses are particularly clever. Thanks for a great project!

    • April 29, 2017 by Louise H

      Yes, I spoke to Joey Jarrell and Emily Horne, and presented my webpage in my Food Sustainability Class. I think they are hoping to use this webpage in the future for other classes and possibly sending it around the faculty to encourage the new greenhouse actually being built. Thank you for your kind response!

  2. April 28, 2017 by Emily B

    I love your project, gardens are amazing, especially for students. My school has a garden (no greenhouse, because Hawaii) and it’s actually been used a lot for classes. There’s an English class taught by the woman who runs the garden based on nature in literature and the sixth graders love coming up to work in the garden as well. The DIY stuff is fun too, bottles as well are awesome for DIY aquaponics! Great project!

    • April 30, 2017 by Louise H

      Wow, that sounds amazing, and thank you so much!

  3. April 28, 2017 by Vanessa c

    I love your webpage and the proposed gardens! I especially loved the video you included at the top, and the sketches / images you have for the reader to be able to build their own greenhouse! Thanks for the great project and great ideas! I want to try it out!

    • April 30, 2017 by Louise H

      Glad you liked it! Thank you, and I hope whatever you build goes well!

  4. April 30, 2017 by Lauren

    Great project! My former high school has been working on plans to build a garden for a few years but I think funding was a major concern. However, I will share with them your project because you provided some prices for structures and things needed for a garden that seem pretty reasonable! Have you heard of Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project? That’s how my school got started and it’s really cool. Thanks again for sharing!

    • April 30, 2017 by Louise H

      I just looked into the Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project, and it is amazing! Thank you for telling me about it! Also, I’m glad the DIY section helped. Building a greenhouse can be really simple and very affordable:)

  5. May 01, 2017 by Christina Chen

    Your website is amazing! I reallly agree with you about the 5 reasons why Gardening matters at school, and it also makes me realized about how garden has played a role in Chinese school, especially in Beijing. Admittedly, there are only a few school in Beijing that have a greenhouse or even garden, and your website just gave me inspiration!Thanks again for sharing!

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