Building School Gardens

Since the launch of Building School Gardens (BSG) in 2007, Openlands supports 58 Chicago Public Schools on their campus. Through this program, approximately 33,000 students are directly impacted by the school gardens each day in addition to the hundreds of teachers, parents, and community members.

BSG boasts a 93% success rate two years after garden installation, far higher than the national average of 40%. A key component that directly enhances the program’s success and sustainability is the robust support that Openlands provides to each school through our workshops.

Currently, Openlands has paused constructing new school gardens and is using this opportunity to strengthen the support that we provide to the existing school gardens. If you are interested in starting a school garden, we encourage your Garden Team to use the manual below as a resource to help guide you in developing a successful school garden.

Download the Building School Gardens Manual.

Photo: Tony Armour and Lisa Miller

BSG Workshop

2018 School and Community Gardens Workshops

Openlands is excited to announce that we will offer our Building School Gardens workshops to members of any garden team, and likewise, we invite our school gardens team to participate in our community garden workshops.

Workshop descriptions can be found in the 2018 workshops program.

Organizing Your Garden Team (offered in English and Spanish)

When:            January 27, 2018 | 9:30am-3pm
Where:          Palmer Elementary, 5051 N. Kenneth Ave, Chicago, IL, 60630

More informationMás información

Vegetable Gardening Basics (offered in English and Spanish)

When:            March 3, 2018 | 9:30am-3pm
Where:           Orozco Community Academy, 1940 West 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60608

Register or more information| Inscribase más información

Stewarding Your School Garden (offered in English and Spanish)

When:            April 7, 2018 | 9:30am-3pm
Where:          Grissom Elementary School, 12810 S Escanaba Ave, Chicago, IL 60633

Register or more information| Inscribase más información

Beyond the School Garden: Field Trips into Nature (English)

When:            Saturday, May 12, 2018 | 9am – 4:30pm
Where:           Meet at Hearst Elementary, 4640 S. Lamon Ave, Chicago, IL; a bus will take group to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, IL.

For registration information, contact

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Owner & land manager: Chicago Public Schools


BMO Harris Bank is the Principal Sponsor of Building School Gardens.

Funding for garden development provided by the City of Chicago. Additional funding provided by Peoples Gas, and the Winnetka Garden Club.

For more information, please contact