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 garden at Burnley-Moran Elementary school is always a site to see! It is a large space that has 8 vegetable beds in the front portion separated by an octagonal-shaped garden classroom that leads to the back of the garden, which is home to a native plant area, an herb spiral, 5 raised beds, and the fairy garden. The garden also hosts a 3 part compost system, a bat house, 1 peach and 3 apple trees, a living sound barrier to block the noise from the highway, and a butterfly garden path leading to a bridge. Student design takes center stage at Burnley-Moran, as all of the spaces, from the chalkboard to the sound barrier, were designed by students.

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. Clark has a native pollinator garden next to the vegetable garden where students can learn about the importance of pollinators and how to create a pollinator habitat in an urban setting. Mary Craig, the Clark librarian, hosts monthly library garden lessons, where students read a book related to the Harvest of the Month fruit or vegetable and participate in hands-on garden activities. 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 and is home to a large U-shaped bed, two 20 foot beds, and ten 6 foot beds . 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. Students frequently visit the garden during recess to weed, water, plant and explore. Teachers at JVE bring out students for weekly garden lessons focusing on seed starting, soil structure, plant anatomy, and cooking.

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.  Classes engage in a variety of activities, including cooking, vermicomposting, starting seeds indoors and exploring the sensory elements surrounding them.

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.