Why create a proposal?
A school garden is a major commitment of time and resources for all involved. Often principals and other administrators will require you to develop a proposal before they will approve developing a garden. A proposal is a helpful document, as it creates a “word picture” of what the garden will be and how it will be used, so that everyone is “on the same page.”

By creating a proposal, you will…
  • think through all aspects of planning for a school gardening program
  • develop a powerful tool to show your school administration how your garden will support your curriculum
  • speak in a confident and informed manner about the project
  • identify and gather the support you will need

What’s in the proposal?
Your proposal should sell your idea. It needs to provide a balance of enthusiasm for the garden along with practical details about how the garden will be funded, built, used, and maintained. The School Garden Wizard proposal outline will help you assemble these items into a formal proposal.

The following list will be addressed in your proposal. You will generate most of your information for the proposal in the Vision Meeting that is described in the next section, Plan for Success.

1. Educational rationale for the project
  • How a garden supports the curriculum and state standards that you are already required to teach (not a new curriculum on top of everything else!)
  • Examples of how plant-based activities can be used to support and teach state educational standards
  • Examples of how school gardens have worked at other schools like yours

2. Description of your ideal school garden and basic information about the garden
  • Location
  • Size
  • Potential garden themes and plants
  • Your (and your team’s) creative, thematic ideas

3. Plan for getting the work completed, including a list of the names of people who want to participate and their tasks

4. Realistic predictions on the cost and potential sources of funding

5. Concluding statement or paragraph that re-states the need for and purpose of the garden and finishes the proposal

Where can I find information?
You will find a lot of information embedded throughout this Web site. You should also plan on holding a Vision Meeting to generate good ideas.

For educational ideas and garden themes, don’t miss Learn in the Garden. Refer to Gather your Resources for learning standards and project costs.

Also, check out these organizations:
American Community Gardening Association
American Horticulture Society
Garden Mosaics
Junior Master Gardener Program
National Gardening Association
National Wildlife Federation
North American Association for Environmental Education

Tips for writing a successful proposal
• Adapt the outline to suit your needs. Do not feel bound by the headings or order of the information; this is a suggested template. Remember, it has to work for YOU!
• Provide as much detail as you can. You won’t have all the answers, but your proposal should reflect that you have carefully considered all aspects of creating a school garden and that you have planned to address each important issue.
• Emphasize details that will mean the most to those you want to convince. For example, if your principal is concerned about garden maintenance during summer months, then make certain your proposal addresses this thoroughly.

What kind of language should I use to write my proposal?
When describing ideas for your proposal, use language that makes it clear whether the ideas are exact plans or possibilities included as examples.

“Our garden might include …”

Definitive plan
“Students and faculty will brainstorm ideas for their garden that might become a setting for…”
“Since science is an emphasis at our school, the garden will provide an opportunity for…”

  • Put the proposal into your own words. It should be personalized for your school so that it is obviously a custom plan, not a generic proposal. Let your enthusiasm show through!
  • If you can, include a photo of the proposed site.