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The purpose of the  Growing Together Garden Project is to increase young children’s healthy eating habits and to increase the amount of time they spend outside in natural environments. 

The goals of the project are to:

•Assist Early Childhood Education (ECE) professionals in establishing successful gardens at their program locations.
•Facilitate the integration of gardening and nature-related activities into the early childhood curriculum.
•Support ECE professionals and families in learning to utilize the produce grown in the garden to make healthy meals.
•Connect ECE professionals and families with young children to research-based information and resources available through Nebraska Extension.
•Provide volunteer opportunities for Master Gardeners.

How it Works

The project provides participating programs with consultation, coaching and financial support to create a successful garden.  In order to participate programs must:

•Attend a training and information session about the program.
•Apply for the grant.
•Be willing and able to work with Nebraska Extension faculty and staff and Master Gardener volunteers on a weekly basis to help ensure the success of the garden.
•Serve children ages birth to age 8.

There are many great curriculums available that support the integration of a garden into early childhood programs.  Farm to Preschool is a great website that also has suggested curriculums: http://www.farmtopreschool.org

Master Gardener

Find out more about the Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Program: http://mastergardener.unl.edu

Program Activities

Master Gardeners work with programs to help them successfully grow a garden and Horticulturists on staff answer any additional questions.


Participating programs receive curriculum support and coaching to help ECE professionals and families increase awareness of healthy nutrition habits.  Additional programming is through SNAP-Ed for programs that meet qualification criteria.

Early Childhood

Coaching is provided to programs to help them integrate the garden into their daily curriculum and across all developmental domains.


Entomologists visit each program to talk to children about helpful and harmful bugs.  Programs also hatch out butterflies, praying mantis or lady bugs.