School Garden Survey Examples from Oregon, Florida, California, Washington DC, Minnesota, and Connecticut:
Initially (three years ago) I called each school in Oregon to get the data for the map (took 20 min/day for three mos.).
Since I work for the Oregon Dept. of Education, and roll up to the Child Nutrition dept., I proposed our school garden data get updated annually via the National School Lunch Program re-application process. Every year, the Nutrition Services departments around the State have to complete a pretty long and arduous application via an online system. This system takes quite a while, and things like free & reduced data, meal counts, confirming schools participating as well as updated contact information for each building in the district is update. I figured since they were going in and updating this information anyway, maybe they could help updating the school garden information I had in the system.
The only problem is that the Nutrition Services folks for the most part have nothing to do with the gardens, and really don't contact the teachers or folks who would be in charge of the garden at all. So, I end up getting quite a lot of wrong data - that I have to in turn clean up. But, the system is a start in which I hope to improve upon.
The questions asked in the application process include the data we track, such as: Is the produce from the garden going to the cafeteria; Is there a paid garden coordinator.. etc
Advice for surveying schools: This is coming as a "calm voice of reason" standpoint from a former Food Service Director for the better part of 32 years.. School district personnel, be it FSD's or teachers, are surveyed and emailed to DEATH, and absolutely hate completing surveys!. These folks are SO busy and don't have much extra time for hammering away on surveys. This is why I tend to get bad data back. Also, I thought when I landed my job as a State coordinator, everyone would welcome me with open arms. I found out that probably 90% of all food service directors are not wired like me. They could really care less about school gardens, they just want to meet the standards and break even. I've had fun educating them and introducing them to this world and have found this is changing a bit!
My advice is - If you are going to do a survey - make sure it's very short and sweet! Further advice: Ask 1-3 of your most important questions you want to track, and contact information for the garden coordinator. Of all the folks who answer these, they would be the most motivated and will likely participate more, you can then follow up with them in a more detailed second survey if you need to. Also, it's my experience that folks who garden might not necessarily be the same folks who spend a lot of time answering emails, they're out in the garden! It even gets worse when trying to contact farmers!
Farm To School / School Garden Coordinator
Child Nutrition Programs
Office of Learning / Student Services
Oregon Department of Education
We are currently surveying 82 schools in New London County CT about their school garden. I am attaching the survey. We mapped the school gardens in our area 15 months ago, as part of our Farm to School Support Program Grant and will be updating our map (with hopefully A LOT MORE school gardens) See the map attached. I am always interested in learning more about surveying and mapping
Garden Survey shared below in attachments section.
Cindy Barry, MA
Senior Health Program Coordinator
ACHIEVE New London County Coalition
The Florida Farm to School Program is current accessing all the school gardens we have within our state that are on the National School Lunch Program. We hope to have our first phase (baseline) of the census completed in December of this year.
Florida Farm to School & WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Director
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness
See Minneapolis Public School School Garden Survey 2014-15 here
In 2014, MPS Culinary & Nutrition Services partnered with Youth Farm to conduct a School Garden Survey to help identify the current landscape of school gardens in the district and the areas that need the most support.
DC collects school garden/ farm to school data through the School Health Profile which is an existing survey that is required. Schools already know they have to fill this out each year so adding a few questions is not too burdensome. Our response rate on this survey is close to 100%.
School Garden Specialist
DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Division of Wellness and Nutrition
Director of Programs and Partnerships
Life Lab, Santa Cruz, CA
Here is a link to a survey I created on Google Forms. I believe Google Forms allows people to go back in and change surveys even after they submit.
Oakland Unified School District