Growing Library Garden Programs

Jennifer Peterson /

Updated 1/8/18

Upon hearing news of First Lady Michelle Obama's surprise visit to school and community gardens, we thought it would be a good time to collect together a list of related resources and examples of libraries that are creating gardens and hosting garden programming. Many public libraries are connecting to community partners and transforming spaces to engage patrons of all ages in growing library garden programs. Perhaps the First Lady could visit some of the many library gardens next!


Libraries with Gardens

More Library Gardens in the News

Related Initiatives and Resources

  • The Edible Schoolyard Project, created by Alice Waters, includes a wealth of resources useful to library garden projects, along with a number of library sites.
  • Let’s Move! (archived site) was a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years; giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices; providing healthier foods in our schools; ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food; and helping children become more physically active. See related resources in:
    • Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens: There are 625 museums and gardens representing all 50 states and D.C. that have signed on to provide interactive exhibits, outdoor spaces, gardens and programs that help children and families learn about healthy foods and get out and play!
    • Community Garden Resource Guide (PDF): full of resources and guidance on how libraries can initiate, expand and coordinate activities that make their communities places of wellness for kids and families. See also Community Garden Checklist (PDF)
  • Slow Food USA's National School Garden Program: Aims to reconnect youth with their food by teaching them how to grow, cook and enjoy real food.
    Site includes manuals, guides and documents created by Slow Food leaders to support activities in school gardens.
  • USDA, The People's Garden: A collaborative effort of over 700 local and national organizations all working together to establish community and school gardens across the country. The simple act of planting a garden can help unite neighborhoods in a common effort and inspire locally led solutions to challenges facing our country, from hunger to the environment.
  • EatPlayGrow™: An early childhood health curriculum developed by the Children's Museum of Manhattan in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.
  • Shared on, news of Amazing Seeds: A Kids Guide to Strange and Wonderful Garden Veggies, available to libraries in bulk for free from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
  • On racial equity in food systems, see Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Committee on Racial Equity in the Food System at North Carolina State University, and Food System Racial Equity Assessment Tool: A Facilitation Guide from University of Wisconsin

Seed Library Examples and Resources

And if your library's not ready to grow its own garden or host a seed library, consider gathering a group of library staff to volunteer at a local Giving Garden! WebJunction and other OCLC staff volunteered as part of United Way's Day of Caring in 2014 at a local P-Patch that dedicates beds for growing produce that is donated to local food pantries.

If you have resources or examples to share, please let us know in the comments below, on social media or contact us at

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