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.

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.

Student design takes center stage at Burnley-Moran. All of the garden between the chalkboard and the sound barrier were designed by students.; as well as the prep table, the bat box and the garden mosaic at the top of the stairs guiding visitors to the garden.

For more information on the Burnley-Moran Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Burnley-Moran Garden Coordinator, Mackenzie Morgan, at mackenzie@cityschoolyardgarden.org and check out the CSG Burnley-Moran Garden’s Facebook page.


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 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 sarah@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. The 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, harvesting, and learning about composting. Greenbrier’s garden shed also has a living bio-roof that demonstrates innovative design and the importance of mitigating water run-off. Students always look forward to free time in the garden to pick and eat the vegetables they’ve grown.

For more information on the Greenbrier Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Greenbrier Garden Coordinator, Mackenzie Morgan, at mackenzie@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 6 elementary schools, with 14 raised beds, a small native fruit tree orchard and pollinator garden, and woodland trails created by landscape architect, Jessica Primm. Teachers at JVE bring out students for weekly garden lessons focusing on seed starting, soil structure, plant anatomy, and cooking. 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.

For more information on the Jackson-Via Schoolyard Garden, please contact our Jackson-Via Garden Coordinator, Sarah Wayne at sarah@cityschoolyardgarden.org.


Johnson Elementary School

City Schoolyard Garden at Johnson Elementary

At the Johnson Garden there is a sign that says, “Respect Your Garden.” The importance of “respect,” for and in the Garden is a constantly reinforced theme. Additionally, creating a sense of ownership and responsibility is key to the children understanding the communal aspect of our Garden. The children take part in each and every aspect of the gardening process, from turning the beds and preparing them, to sowing seeds to harvesting vegetables and fruit and preparing them to eat. We concentrate on individual exploration and discovery at Johnson. Additionally, every visit to the garden children have the opportunity to practice measuring using tape measures and our produce scale. Magnifying glasses are available to investigate and discover the multitudes of critters and budding life on every visit. Garden harvests have been incorporated into school cooking lessons. We have classrooms actively vermicomposting, (worm composting). Most uniquely, the Johnson Garden has a Sensory and Exploration wheelchair accessible bed. The bed is 32” tall which allows all students an up close sensory and exploration experience. For more information and volunteer opportunities please contact Rick Harden, CSG’s Johnson Schoolyard Garden Coordinator.  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 vegetables, herbs and flowers in early spring, summer and fall. Students in each grade participate in a weekly class period in which they design, plan, prepare, plant and maintain the garden. They engage in a variety of activities, including cooking, vermicomposting, starting seeds indoors and exploring the sensory elements surrounding them. Through art and library classes students keep drawing and writing journals and use the garden to spark creativity. The garden is a dynamic space that brings joy and pride to the students at Veneble. 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 Sarah Wayne, Venable Garden Coordinator at  sarah@cityschoolyardgarden.org and check out the CSG Venable Garden Facebook page, Venable Vegetables as well as their website.