Garden Organizations

Local Organizations

Brightside St. Louis empowers St. Louisans to help make the region cleaner and greener through their demo garden, community education, and naturescaping services.

Earthdance Farm School is a nationally recognized farm school that promotes and educates on organic farming through their apprenticeships, youth programs, classes, and volunteer opportunities.

Forest ReLeaf is a nonprofit community-assisted tree nursery working to enrich communities and offer community outreach opportunities and educational classes.

Good Life Growing is an urban farming company used as a site for community service, experiential learning, and service-learning.

The Green Center offers hands-on outdoor lessons for students where they can investigate and explore the prairie, wetland, or forest, as well as professional development classes are available to educators.

Green City Coalition connects communities to nature by converting vacant lots into green spaces and works to improve neighborhood vitality & sustainability.

Litzsinger Road Ecology Center works with educators and students to promote science teaching and learning at their study center, classrooms, and research lab.

Maplewood-Richmond Heights’ Seed to Table promotes education, health, and wellness by connecting students to nature.

Missouri Botanical Garden offers various classes for adults on topics like gardening, green living, nature study, and outdoor adventures.  The Education Division offers nature-based and science-driven programs for pre-K-12 students that include outreach programs, teacher professional development, online resources and service learning opportunities.

Operation Food Search provides evidence-based nutrition education to the local St. Louis area through their Nutrition Education Department.

St. Louis Master Gardener was established by MOBOT to provide local horticultural education and programs led by trained volunteers.  They provide a list of online gardening resources on their site for the public:

St. Louis Beekeepers Association educates the public on beekeeping practices and promotes healthy natural systems where bees, pollinators and people can adapt and thrive.

Slow Food St. Louis promotes good, clean, fair food for all through public education and their Biodiversity Micro Grant program.

University of Missouri Extension uses research-based knowledge to address economic opportunity, educational excellence, and healthy futures in the state of Missouri.

Urban Harvest STL strives to make fresh, healthy food accessible to entire communities through their farms and various distribution channels, like the St. Louis Metro Market.

National Gardening Organizations

American Community Gardening Association is a nonprofit that builds community by improving and enhancing community gardens and greening in the U.S. and Canada.

National Agriculture in the Classroom provides support to state programs by giving teachers the knowledge, appreciation, and awareness to education and inform their students.  (For school gardens)  

Out Teach is a national teacher-development nonprofit working to promote experiential learning in outdoor classrooms through their professional trainings.

Teacher Spotlight: Kerry Stevison

Kerry leads the Agriscience component for the Saint Louis Science Center’s Youth Exploring Science Program.  

The Youth Exploring Science (YES) Program is a work-based youth development program that uses science investigation to foster academic and professional skills.  The Agriscience component focuses on increasing the teens’ knowledge of plants, comfort with nature, and healthy eating habits.

Kerry originally joined the YES Program as part of a Climate Change grant, educating the teens’ on global warming.  When the grant ended, she took over the Agriscience component of the YES program. Though Kerry studied Biology in undergrad, she never took a botany class and had very little gardening experience.  But she loves being in nature and was inspired when she realized that the teens had little exposure to nature in their everyday lives.  Kerry recalled that during a gardening lesson with the teens, she pulled a persimmon from a tree and when she took a bite, the students were shocked that it was okay to eat fruit right off a tree.  

The garden is a large part of the Agriscience classroom and incorporates outdoor education into their indoor curriculum.  Teens have access to microscopes to observe plant cells and are able to interact with worms, salamanders, crickets that live in the classroom.  The teens use the gene editing technique CRISPR and raspberry pi computers in connection with the garden for their advanced science curriculum. For one project, in collaboration with the Danforth Center, the teens are using raspberry pi computing to create a “vegetable piano”.  Using vegetables from their garden, sensors are transmitted from the vegetable “keys” to activate sounds as if playing a piano. The teens are also currently applying for a grant for a hydroponics system they designed to grow clover for the Wildlife Rescue Center.

In addition to science, Kerry uses the YES garden to build a connections to food, health, and nature.  Since joining the department, she has incorporated a heavier focus on nutrition and healthy eating, even bringing in guest chefs to show teens how to use the food they’ve grown.  She believes it is important to have teens draw connections between food from the grocery store and food from the garden. In one lesson, the teens compared basil from the garden and the grocery store,  and they were able to see how much fresher basil from the garden was.

The teens enjoy harvesting their garden crops, but they also really like being able to teach younger children what they’ve learned in the outdoor classroom.  The opportunity to facilitate their own lessons empowers the teens to become the teachers. In collaboration with the Saint Louis Science Center GROW Exhibit, the teens were able to lead a lesson for children making “rice cake pizzas” using fresh basil picked from the garden.

Kerry’s favorite thing to plant with her students is tomatoes because she likes eating them! But she also enjoys working with native plants because even though they’re local to Missouri, it’s often the first time the teens are interacting with them.  

Her advice to other school gardeners is to get students to appreciate the little things in the garden like worms and bugs.  It’s all connected and it’s important to get students comfortable with being in nature!