Interdependence in the Garden Ecosystem

The Edible Schoolyard Project
Berkeley, CA


In this 12-lesson series, students will explore the basic ecological principle of interdependence through the lens of common organic farming practices. Over the course of the series, students will explore a variety of questions:

  • What does it mean when we say that the garden is an “ecosystem”? What evidence do we have of this?
  • How do common farming practices such as cultivating and tilling the soil, companion planting, hand weeding, and composting affect the wellbeing of our crops?
  • What role do they play in the garden ecosystem overall?

At the end of the unit, students will apply what they have learned to develop crop planting proposals. Their proposal will include which crops they would like to plant, when they want to plant them, how they anticipate caring for them, and the ecological justifications for their plan. Additionally, students will reflect on and describe the other considerations that might play a role in their planning, such as the cultural relevancy of certain crops to their communities, their aesthetic visions for the garden space, the market value of certain crops, and their visions for how the food from the garden might be used, among others.

Download Full Curriculum Introduction

No. Lesson Location Grade Key Concepts
1 Project Introduction Garden Classroom 6 – 8
2 The Garden as an Ecosystem Garden Classroom 6 – 8
3 Cultivation and Tillage Garden Classroom 6 – 8
4 Soil Investigation Garden Classroom 6 – 8
5 Crop Planning Garden Classroom 6 – 8
6 Companion Planting Garden Classroom 6 – 8
7 Biotic Interactions Garden Classroom 6 – 8
8 Weeding By Hand Garden Classroom 6 – 8
9 Mapping a Garden Food Web Garden Classroom 6 – 8
10 Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem Garden Classroom 6 – 8
11 How Matter Moves in an Ecosystem Garden Classroom 6 – 8
12 Compost Garden Classroom 6 – 8
13 Final Project Garden Classroom 6 – 8