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


Building School Gardens Workshops

Stewarding your School Garden – CANCELLED

Please note: this workshop has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for later in the summer

Who: Any member of your Garden Team: teachers, staff, parents, community members, etc.

What: Did you know that across the United States, only 40% of school gardens are still being used and maintained two years after they are installed? Come to this workshop and your school can help increase that percentage! We’ll go into the details on how to make sure your school garden gets enough water, the ongoing battle of keeping the garden weed free, and ideas on harvesting vegetables from your garden. CPDUs and garden supplies will be provided.

Where: Palmer Elementary School, 5051 N Kenneth Ave, Chicago, IL 60630


Cost: $45


For more information, please 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, The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund, and the Winnetka Garden Club.