Schools across the nation are using gardens to help children discover where food comes from and to develop healthy eating habits. Gardens provide a way for children to grow, harvest, prepare, and ultimately taste new fruits and vegetables. When appropriate precautions are taken fruits and vegetables from school gardens can be served safely to students. Before starting a school garden, check with your local health department about their policies on serving food grown in gardens in school meals.
Potential food safety risks should be taken seriously. Produce grown in gardens can be contaminated during growth, harvest, transportation, preparation, or service and result in foodborne illness. The practices addressed in this document will help program operators enhance the safety of fruits and vegetables grown in school gardens.