School High Tunnels

Maximizing garden-based learning and agricultural literacy in schools

June 12, 2014
by Katie Bigness

High Tunnel Applications Now Available – Due June 15, 2014


If you would like to extend your school gardening season, apply now for the 2014 High Tunnels in Schools Grant! Applications are due June 15, 2014 via our online application. Follow the link below to learn more about the structure itself, the program, and find the grant application.

Questions can be directed to Katie Bigness,

May 7, 2013
by Katie Bigness
1 Comment

Curriculum and Event Connections

Looking for a way to celebrate your high tunnel and school gardening? Take a note from PS 205 in Queens and Edmeston to incorporate these events into your curriculum and school community.

Serving up some delicious spinach salad from the high tunnel to students and teachers alike in Edmeston!

Daffodil Days

Lower elementary school students work with their garden buddies to plant over 400 forced daffodil bulbs into pots. This is a great activity to do inside as you prepare to spend time in your tunnel, and get students excited about the garden.

Garden Buddies

1st grade students work continuously with their Garden Buddies to do various tasks around the garden. This gives the students a chance to observe, participate, and become active learners in the high tunnel. Students will water the plants, transport earth boxes to the tunnel which are full of potato plants, build raised beds which are supported by bricks, and observe the blackberry vines.

Inside of the classroom, PS 205 students are learning math and science skills through the garden by observing and counting different types of seeds. Students are making predictions about the seeds they plant, and then watching them grow in the garden.

Food and Health Expo

Students at Edmeston serve a spinach salad in the Spring of 2012 during their Food and Health Expo.

Edmeston Central School’s high tunnel plays a starring role each year in their Food and Health Expo. Last year, the students served a spinach salad featuring foods they harvested from the high tunnel. Is your school preparing to host end of the school year meetings or events? Offer to serve a snack from your tunnel to the school community! Even better – put gloves on your students and have them explain the recipes and how they harvested the ingredients.

Connect your students and entire school community with your high tunnel. What are your ideas or favorite events?

April 2, 2013
by Katie Bigness
1 Comment

Food, Land and People Curriculum Training

New York Agriculture in the Classroom is offering a FREE Food, Land and People workshop.

Food, Land and People (FLP) is a national curriculum, tested by teachers and students. FLP education students, teachers, and citizens about the interrelationships between food, resources, and people. It is a collection of 55 lessons aligned to NYS and Common Core Learning Standards for grades Pre-K through 12th with lessons reach across multiple disciplines and subject areas.

Teachers at Chateaugay Central School participate in a FLP activity in a Fall 2012.

Details of the 2-part training are as follows:

Dates: Monday, April 8th and 15th

Time: 6 pm to 8:30 pm

Locations: Cornell University, Syracuse, Fredonia, Mt. Morris (Livingston County), Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill)

Who: Teachers, Volunteers, Farmers, and anyone who is interested in teaching about agriculture, gardens, and our food systems.

Cost: FREE

Participants in this training will receive a CD with all 55 lessons (a $45 value), 5 hours of professional development credit, NYS and Common Core Learning Standards and additional NY Ag in the Classroom resources.

Register soon! To register for this event at a site near you, please see the Promo Flyer 2013 or email

March 14, 2013
by Katie Bigness

Falls Greens Plantings

Fall greens are a great thing to plant in the Fall that will flourish in your high tunnel even as the weather outside becomes colder, you can harvest into the 1st week of December. Chris Wien has put together the post below about his Fall greens trials so that our high tunnel schools can choose the best options for their own plantings.

Fig. 1. Fall greens trial, with ‘Tokyo Bekana’ in the foreground, ‘Red Giant’ mustard and ‘BSS’ progressively farther away.

In support of the school high tunnel program, the objective if these plantings was to determine the date at which leafy greens could be planted in an unheated high tunnel in the fall to produce edible harvests.  Earlier trials suggested that providing protection to the plantings using a low tunnel inside the high tunnel would increase growth, so that comparison was also included.


Planting dates:

  1. Direct seeding on Sept. 5
  2. Direct seeding on Sept. 19

Secondary tunnel:

  1. None
  2. Covered with a low tunnel of 0.5 oz/yd2 spun-bonded material

Greens species and varieties:

  1. Arugula
  2. Tokyo Bekana
  3. Mustard Red Giant
  4. Mizuna
  5. Lettuce: Vulcan
  6. Lettuce:  Black-seeded Simpson
  7. Spinach: Melody
  8. Spinach: Tyee