School gardens are increasingly being used as hands-on tools to help students learn many core educational concepts. Not only do school gardens help produce educated students, but they also produce an abundance of fruits and vegetables. The School Garden Food Safety Program was developed to meet the needs of schools that wanted the produce from its garden to be served in the school's cafeteria.
The University of Arizona collaborated with The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to develop guidelines for school gardens (School Garden Food Safety Guidelines). These guidelines follow GHP/GAP (good handling practices and good agricultural practices), which minimize microbial food safety hazards for fresh fruits and vegetables. Schools who follow the School Garden Food Safety Guidelines and schedule an inspection by ADHS will receive a certification. This certification will allow the school garden to be an approved source from which the school cafeteria can receive produce; meaning, the produce from the school garden can be served in the school cafeteria.
Effective 8/6/16, Arizona House Bill 2518 became law as Title 36-136. This basically says that school grown produce that is washed and cut onsite in the school’s cafeteria for immediate consumption is an approved source. Any questions regarding this change in law and its impact on the certification process can be directed to the School Garden Program through ADHS - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Trainings Now Available!!!
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School Garden Food Safety Workshop
- University of Arizona
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Food Safety Plan Outline (replaced with)
Food Safety Plan Template and
Supplemental Guidance Document
- Harvested Rainwater Attestation (no longer required)
Replaced with: Best Practices for Rainwater Harvesting
- Harvested Rainwater SOP Example (replaced with)
SOP Rainwater Harvesting Template
- Soil Sampling Protocol for Lead Testing
- Composting (plant-derived) Attestation (no longer required)
Replaced with: Best Practices for Composting
- Composting (plant-derived) SOP Example (replaced with)
SOP Composting Template
Composting (Manure and Plant-derived) Attestation(see above) Composting (Manure and Plant-derived) SOP Example(see above)
- Request for Site Visit for School Gardens
- School Garden Harvest Log
- ADHS Guidelines for School Gardens
- Food Safety Plan Outline (replaced with)
- School Examples
Standards Based Lessons
- Flagstaff Training
- Maricopa County
Please share additional resources (AgLiteracy@cals.arizona.edu)
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
- Food Safety Plan
- American Community Garden Association
- Captain Planet Foundation
- Collective School Garden Network
- The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation
- Native Seed Store
- One in a Melon Award
- Pima County Seed Library
- Rio Salado Seedshed Library
- Valley Permaculture Alliance Seed Library
- Western Growers Foundation
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona Water Harvesting Guidelines (PDF)
- Helpful Programs
These articles appear in order of publication. Links are provided to original article along with a PDF version. Please share additional articles (AgLiteracy@cals.arizona.edu).
- First Certified School Garden on Arizona Reservation (PDF)
- Tucson Schools Serve Bounty from Gardens (PDF)
- School Garden Grows Sustainable Students (PDF, video)
- Ignorance is No Excuse:Criminal Liability in the Produce Industry (full PDF article)
Synopsis: Food industry attorney, Ryan Gembala, explains the importance of food safety in your school garden. No child should be harmed because food safety practices were not implemented in their school garden. No teacher, school, or district should be held liable because they “should have known” a practice could be harmful and a student became sick.
- Getting a School Garden Blooming: The Garden Committee (PDF)
- Compost Tea 101: What Every Organic Gardener Should Know
- Let's Settle The Hand Sanitizer Vs. Hand Washing Debate, Once And For All (PDF)
The Arizona Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Consultation and Training has funded all or a portion of this Project, using Specialty Crop Block Grant funds provided by the USDA,
Agricultural Marketing Service.