The New York City Department of Education has over 1800 registered public and charter schools and over 1300 individual school buildings. Grow to Learn’s mission of establishing and sustaining a garden for every school will be realized entirely because of the partnership and collaboration of these incredible NYC organizations and city agencies.



NYC Parks Department, Green Thumb Division

GreenThumb provides programming and material support to over 600 community gardens and all the Grow to Learn Schools. Green Thumb provides material resources and training for gardeners across all five boroughs.

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NYC Department of Education, Sustainability Initiative

The Sustainability Initiative seeks to transform the DOE into a more sustainable and efficient public entity regarding facility operation and maintenance and student environmental education. Grow to Learn joins many other nonprofit and city agency partners to support schools to advance sustainability initiatives at their schools.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an urban botanic garden that connects people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment.

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Queens Botanical Garden

Queens Botanical Garden is an urban oasis where people, plants and cultures
are celebrated through inspiring gardens, innovative educational programs and demonstrations of environmental stewardship.

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The Horticultural Society of New York

The mission of the Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort) is to sustain the vital connection between people and plants. Our social service and public programs educate and inspire, growing a broad community that values horticulture for the many benefits it brings to our environment, our neighborhoods, and our lives.

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Edible Schoolyard, NYC

“Every child needs to learn how to cook, needs to learn how to cultivate a garden, plant seeds, learn about sustainability, be taken to a garden, and be able to put hands in the Earth.” (Alice Waters) Established in 2010, Edible Schoolyard NYC is a nonprofit organization committed to bringing Alice Waters’ vision to New York City public schools as an effective solution to our childhood obesity crisis.

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The Butterfly Project

Butterfly Project is a grass roots, volunteer-led, organization of New Yorkers with a common goal—to promote and assist in the planting and preservation of native plants in urban, public spaces in order to create and strengthen resources for native pollinators.

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With a special focus on communities of need, NYRP works in public parks, housing projects, vacant lots, schools, on sidewalks, the waterfront, and in our own community gardens. Our comprehensive approach to urban land management includes community engagement, capital construction, cultural programming, landscape maintenance, and environmental education. Together, these efforts impact the city on multiple scales, from one small block to all five boroughs.

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The New York Botanical Garden is an iconic living museum and, since its founding in 1891, has served as an oasis in this busy metropolis. The Garden is also a major educational institution. More than 300,000 people annually—among them Bronx families, school children, and teachers—learn about plant science, ecology, and healthful eating through NYBG’s hands-on,curriculum-based programming. Nearly 90,000 of those visitors are children from underserved neighboring communities, while more than 3,000 are teachers from New York City’s public school system participating in professional development programs that train them to teach science courses at all grade levels.

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Grow to Learn NYC, the Citywide School Gardens Initiative, is made possible in part through the generous support of our Funders.


Green Mountain Energy

Green Mountain Energy began in Vermont in 1997 with a simple but powerful mission: Use the power of consumer choice to change the way power is made. Today, they’re still 100% dedicated to protecting the environment, and support the growth of school gardens throughout NYC by sponsoring our mini-grants program.

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Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC

In 2010, Grow to Learn was started by a partnership between GrowNYC, The Mayor’s Fund, the Parks Department, and the NYC Department of Education. Today, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, chaired by First Lady Chirlane McCray, is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that continues to facilitate high-impact public-private partnerships throughout New York City’s five boroughs.

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Green Beetz

Green Beetz is a non-profit organization with the mission to empower middle schoolers to navigate the complex issues surrounding food in the 21st century. Green Beetz and Grow to Learn have joined forces to pilot the Green Beetz curriculum in 10 Grow to Learn Elementary Schools for the 2015-16 school year.

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Mazda strongly believes that a company has a responsibility to give something back to the communities in which it does business. To act on this belief, we created the Mazda Foundation, which is dedicated to building a better tomorrow through support of meaningful programs that make a difference.

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The citywide school gardens initiative needs your support! Whether you’re able to give enough to fund a set of kid sized tools or a full school garden build-out, we can promise you that every dollar counts. Scroll-down to learn what your contributions can mean to the garden community.

Individual donations matter.  The contribution examples below explain a few ways you can give to sponsor the growth of school garden programs around the city. You can also just click here to view our donation form and fill out your own total. Please remember to designate your donation to “Grow to Learn: School Gardens” from the “Special Purpose” drop-down menu.




$25  = 5 seedlings

There’s no donation too small! Your $25 buys 5 seedlings to give out to a school garden during our spring seedling give-away. Donate now to keep our gardens growing.

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$50  = Workshop give-away

All of our workshops come with a seasonal give-away item for school gardeners so that they can implement what they learn in their own gardens. Whether it’s row cover and wire for season extending hoop houses, grow lights and seed trays for indoor seed starting,  or canning kits and jars, your donation moves school gardeners from workshop to action. Donate now to keep our gardeners learning.

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$100  = Visioning Workshop

Sustaining a garden at a school is all about community. Your $100 donation pays for our staff to host a visioning or action planning meeting at their school site. Working in collaboration with the garden committee, our staff meet with the school to discuss long term sustainability plans, garden integration into the school culture and curriculum, and set steps for improvement. Donate now and help sustain our gardens.

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$500  = Expansion Project

Whether it’s a chicken coop, an outdoor classroom, a storage shed, or a few additional raised beds, our existing school gardens are always looking for ways to expand their growing spaces and projects. Expansion projects often move schools in new directions, deepening the learning opportunities for their students and community. Donate now and help our registered gardens stay fresh.

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$2,000  = New Garden mini-grant

By giving $2,000, you are ensuring that one more school in NYC gets to start teaching and learning in their very own school garden. Currently, we are only able to fund about half of the projects that get proposed each funding round, but with your help we can get closer to meeting the demand. Donate now and help us grow one more new garden.

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Grow to Learn has seasonal opportunities for businesses and other groups to volunteer and sponsor a school garden build day. We typically charge large volunteer groups $100 per participating volunteer. This fee covers staff time, bulk materials, tools, and plantings for the garden. If you are a corporate group that is interested in sponsoring a school garden build day, please review some example initiatives and  FAQs below and send us a message using the volunteer request form:

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Corporate Volunteer FAQs

What kind of project will my group be working on? Building a school garden can be a big lift for a school, both financially and physically. Corporate volunteer groups help us pay for the materials and starter plantings for a school garden, while also providing the many helping hands schools need to get their garden started.

What times of the year can my group help out? Typically, most of our build days are scheduled at the beginning of the spring or fall growing seasons. We get the most requests from schools to help with garden builds in the months of March, April, May, September, and October. We can sometimes accommodate groups during other months, but these are certainly the most popular times of the year to host volunteer groups.

Can I bring my entire staff team to the build day? While we do sometimes have opportunities for larger groups to pitch in, school gardens are often small spaces. The easiest size group for most of our schools to accommodate ranges from about 20 to 50 volunteers. If you do have a larger group, we encourage you to still fill out the form and we will try our best to find a larger school or community garden space to accommodate your team.

I’m an individual looking to volunteer, not a corporate group. Can I still help out? Sure! We have occasional opportunities for individual volunteers to help out in school gardens and with some of our partner organizations. Fill out our “individual volunteer request form” here.

Corporate Volunteer
Inquiry form

  • Please let us know if there are any restrictions regarding area of the city, types of projects, types of schools, or any other pertinent information we should be aware of. One of our team members will be in contact with you shortly.

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