This productive school garden design emphasizes developmentally appropriate educational features and ties to classroom curriculum. The overarching system is a food forest and includes a sensory garden, annual vegetable production, fruit tree orchard, native plants, and useful and edible perennial understory Rainwater harvested from classroom building feeds 12-000 gallons of cisterns to irrigate gardens and parts of the campus, while the overflow feeds a rain garden full of beneficial plants for the soil and insects.
The site of the food forest before the installation was primarily grass in a fenced in enclosure. One challenge in working with school gardens is that during peak dry heat (summer) children are out of school. Much of the summer maintenance can be abated with a perennial-based system, such as the food forest, and the irrigation could be automated from the rain system. We installed 12,000-gallons, which feeds minimal irrigation needed for the food forest, and augments the wider campus' irrigation needs, taking them off of well water, favoring a more sustainable water source.