School Garden Consulting

enliven your curriculum in a living classroom

School gardens offer so many benefits. They’ve been shown to improve test scores, reduce truancy, improve retention rates, and reduce stress, aggression and anxiety.

Gardens can also reduce childhood obesity by encouraging healthy eating habits.

I’m here to help you through the entire process of planning your garden, integrating it with your curriculum in all major disciplines per your state education standards, getting your garden funded, and making it into a sustainable program that continues to serve your students and community year-round.


This is for you if...

  • You’re a school district, individual school, a committed group of teachers or parents, or a single teacher.
  • You don’t have a garden, you have a weed patch, or you want to change your existing garden into an even better teaching tool.
  • You want a garden that provides hands-on, project-based learning for multiple disciplines, across all grades.
  • You’re overwhelmed, because this is a huge undertaking. You need a simple, step-by-step, action-oriented plan to make that garden happen.

Hi, I’m Vanessa Tavernetti, and for more than 20 years I have helped educators create school garden programs, and the gardens themselves, in ways that meet state requirements, get funded, and are embraced by the local community.

Additionally, I have experience developing school food and nutrition policies, and if you’d like, we can integrate your school garden with your cafeteria program, or lay the groundwork for a Farm-to-School program.




Our work together begins when you schedule a call. We will talk about your goals, your requirements, and any challenges we’ll need to account for.

From there, we will schedule a site review. I will give thorough consideration to your garden space, your climate, your student’s needs, and your community.

Then we get to brainstorm how you want your garden to be. We’ll dream big and figure out the practical steps to get there.

Throughout this process, I like to invite input from staff, teachers, parents, custodians, board members, other stakeholders and possible funders.

Taking all of this into account, we will create a plan for your garden that, depending on your needs, may include:

  • The garden design and required materials list
  • A total cost estimate
  • A realistic timeline for completion
  • Curriculum integrations
  • Funding pathways

This plan does not include physical labor. We can talk about who will actually build your garden during our consultation calls, whether you want to create a plan that children and volunteers will be able to implement, or if you have the resources to hire a contractor.

*If you need help with modeling instruction or additional check-ins and problem-solving, those are available at additional cost.


Every garden plan is based on your school’s unique community:
Where you are geographically and the constituency of your school district.

Your garden has the potential to become a valuable asset to your entire community.


We will ask your students and families what they want to eat, with the intention of sending food from the garden home with them (or using that produce for school snacks and lunches). Research shows that when children are involved with growing the food they are more likely to eat it — yes, even kale!

Types of gardens we can create

  • Edible gardens help children learn where their food comes from, and what it looks like in its natural state (brussels sprouts look like THAT?!).
  • Sensory gardens allow students, especially those with special needs, to explore their senses in a safe, stimulating environment.
  • Native plant / habitat gardens teach about the native flora and fauna of their local area.
  • Herbal/Medicinal gardens connect students with your region’s native plants and their indigenous uses.
  • Craft gardens grow what you need for classroom crafting!
  • Cutting gardens adorn classrooms with fresh bouquets, enhancing the learning environment.

Around the World Gardens recreate mini ecosystems of countries all around the world. Other fun things we’ve created in gardens are a “salad bar” crop, worm compost bins, cob benches, butterfly habitats, bird habitats and chicken coops!


Besides my passion for the school garden movement, here are my official qualifications

Over the past 20 years I have...

  • Became a credentialed teacher and successfully ran a model school garden program in the San Francisco Bay Area. For this work, I received the Jack London Teacher of the Year award. 
  • Collaborated with Alice Waters and the Center for Ecoliteracy (the originator of The Edible Schoolyard Project and a pioneer of the Farm-to-School movement). 
  • Worked as a district school garden coordinator, co-founded a non-profit to support school gardens
  • Trained thousands of educators worldwide in school garden curriculum and best-practices (through the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s School Garden Teacher Training Program, and several universities and teacher training programs).


Training, Certifications, Degrees

  • BA in International Studies: Sustainable Development and Water Rights from Trinity College.
  • Graduate studies in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of Illinois.
  • Multi-subject Teaching Credential, Sonoma State University.
  • Co-Founded School Garden Network of Sonoma County. Served as Board President and Secretary. 
  • Permaculture Certificate, The New College.

Let's grow your {chool garden!



Feel grounded, focused and nourished through deepening your connection with the Earth and Spirit so you can have clarity in your purpose, step forward confidently, and find community with magical humans just like you!


to }econnect and }egenerate