Elementary School Gardens

Launched in 2012 the Elementary School Garden Program is now thriving. This program includes gardens and garden coordinators in each of the six Charlottesville Elementary Schools. Combined, the elementary gardens cover around 20,750 square feet with each garden reflecting the character and uniqueness of that schools community. Our diverse gardens include a native owl habitat, a Jeffersonian themed garden, worm compost bins, art in the garden, a recycled greenhouse, water catchment tanks, a butterfly garden, a sensory and wheelchair accessible garden, a garden choral group, seed saving, outdoor classroom space, and more.  In the winter of 2015, we kicked off a monthly fresh snack program at all six elementary schools, Harvest of the Month. We estimate 15,320 elementary school student interactions each year and host six after-school garden clubs.

Together, these programs cultivate the skills for healthy living through growing a garden, enhance students’ academic experience with hands-on learning units, and engage youth in the wonder and curiosity of nature.

Scroll down to learn more about each of the elementary school gardens, and be sure to check out the Burnley-Moran and Venable Resource Pages to get helpful tips to use in your own garden! Check out our map of the CSG gardens.

Burnley-Moran Elementary School

City Schoolyard Garden at Burnley-Moran Elementary

The design of the Burnley-Moran Elementary Garden is decidedly Jeffersonian, since Monticello is directly visible from the garden site. It contains an octagonal-shaped garden classroom, and students have planted beds according to Jefferson’s 1812 layout of roots, fruits, leaves and an added “fallow” bed. One of the newest gardens, Burnley-Moran was designed and installed in Fall 2012-Spring 2013. Burnley-Moran is also home to a student-designed, garden-themed mosaic. For more information on the Burnley-Moran Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Burnley-Moran Garden Coordinator, Matt Darring, at burnleymoran@cityschoolyardgarden.org and check out the CSG Burnley-Moran Garden’s Facebook page and Garden Club website.


Clark Elementary School


City Schoolyard Garden at Clark Elementary

At Clark Elementary, students, parents, teachers, and volunteers have created twelve raised vegetable garden beds on the site of a former playground area at the front of the school. As a complement to the cultivated garden, parent volunteers and the school librarian, Mary  Craig, have designed a wildlife garden, which hosts an afterschool club for students to learn more about nature and ecology. Clark students have been experimenting with composting, vermi-composting, planting native and heirloom plant species, and starting seeds indoors under grow lights. For more information on the Clark Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Clark Garden Coordinator, Sarah Wayne  at clark@cityschoolyardgarden.org and check out the Clark Garden’s Facebook page.



Greenbrier Elementary School

City Schoolyard Garden at Greenbrier Elementary

Greenbrier Elementary School has a long history of tending two courtyard gardens and introducing students to the joys of fresh vegetables.  A new and larger vegetable garden at Greenbrier was constructed in 2012-13. The garden at Greenbrier currently engages students in every grade — from Kindergarten through fourth grade — in activities that include planting, making signs, and participating in the district-wide “First Peas to the Table” competition. Community volunteers have been integral to the success of the garden at Greenbrier.  Greenbrier’s garden shed also has a living bio-roof that demonstrates innovative design and the importance of mitigating water run-off. For more information on the Greenbrier Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Greenbrier Garden Coordinator, Emily Anderson, at greenbrier@cityschoolyardgarden.org and check out the CSG Greenbrier Garden Facebook page.


Jackson-Via Elementary School

City Schoolyard Garden at Jackson-Via Elementary

Jackson-Via Elementary has one of the longest standing gardens of the six elementary schools, with eight raised beds and a small native fruit tree orchard.  Our original garden coordinator and landscape architect, Jessica Primm, is responsible for creating a master plan for the 20.6 acre campus that include an edible hedge, woodland trails, a meadow garden, a pollinator garden, and an “owl habitat” meadow in the edge of the big woods on site. Jackson-Via piloted a joint project with Piedmont Master Gardeners in Spring 2013, that involved master gardener volunteers teaching an after-school gardening club and since then the volunteers have hosted a vibrant afterschool club. Students in grades Kindergarten through grade four all have dedicated garden beds. For more information on the Jackson-Via Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Jackson-Via Garden Coordinator, Sarah Wayne at jacksonvia@cityschoolyardgarden.org.


Johnson Elementary School

City Schoolyard Garden at Johnson Elementary

Building on six existing raised beds, in Fall 2012, Johnson Elementary greatly expanded its school garden, relocating to a more central and sunny location that could be fenced in. Garden harvests have been incorporated into school cooking lessons, and Johnson also hosts an after-school garden club through the CLASS (Creative Learning After School & Summer) program. Third grade students have been learning about the importance of native trees, and fourth graders use fresh produce to make salads with homemade dressing. Several classrooms are actively vermicomposting, as well. Most uniquely, the Johnson garden has a sensory and wheelchair accessible bed. Designed specifically for students in the school who wanted to experience the joy of gardening from their wheelchair, Rick Harden, CSG’s Johnson Schoolyard Garden Coordinator, put his carpentry craft to work here. For more information please contact Rick at johnson@cityschoolyardgarden.org.


Venable Elementary School

City Schoolyard Garden at Venable Elementary

Venable Elementary’s garden “courtyard” site is unique in its size and diversity of garden elements, with four raised garden beds, a rainwater catchment system, compost pile and pollinator garden. Venable has a robust garden program through PE classes, which plant the early spring vegetable seeds. Students may choose to join in an afters chool club that teaches children the joys of gardening, including keeping garden journals, starting seeds indoors for sale at the spring fair, tending worm bins, building bird feeders and designing garden shirts, in addition to garden planting and maintenance. Venable is also home to a small greenhouse made entirely out of recycled water bottles!


For more information on the Venable Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Venable Garden Coordinator, Emily Koester at venable@cityschoolyardgarden.org and check out the CSG Venable Garden Facebook page, Venable Vegetables as well as their website.