Love me a good mission statement

In my role as “school garden consultant” through Master Gardeners, I am now working with three schools.  The school I met with recently in San Diego is just starting off with their project, and I am excited because they have all of the ingredients for an amazing garden: a supportive principal, a passionate lead teacher, other interested teachers, potential community partners, possible funding and an amazing space (Flat, sunny, with water!  Oh my!)


As y’all know, good projects start with a mission statement.  Some people find this part of the process tedious and kinda academic, but not me. How do you know what to do if you don’t know where you want to end up?  As such, I like the process of writing out objectives.  It helps keep me on track, sort our priorities, and assess progress.

Here is ours.  We are in process of having an artist transfer this to a large sign for the garden, reminding us all of what we’re growing…

What we grow in the Julian Elementary Character Garden

We grow food.

We promote good nutrition by planting, tending, harvesting and eating organic fruit, vegetables and herbs.

We grow citizens.

We connect children to the natural world and create environmental stewards.

We grow character.

We learn leadership, responsibility, and respect when we work in the garden.

We grow practical gardening skills.

We learn the nuts and bolts of growing a garden.

We grow beauty.

We enjoy our peaceful, beautiful garden as it relaxes our bodies, inspires our minds, and ignites our creativity and imagination.

We grow academics.

We study biology, ecology and natural history in our garden classroom.

We grow stories. 

We develop a “sense of place” as we build a garden that reflects who we are as individuals, as a school and as residents of Julian and the backcountry.

We grow community.

We  create positive relationships among students, staff, parents and neighbors when we work together. 

12 thoughts on “Love me a good mission statement

  1. Hi, Tricia,

    This is beautiful. As someone who sees daily the disconnect between poor children and their food, their nutrition and their bodies I am wishing you could help us start this in Buffalo. With that in mind here are some other thoughts and ideas for your consideration…

    I think you need a pithier mission statement and let this be your vision [the vision expands on the mission]. As your work grows, you will want both. The mission statement is something that the kids [and everyone working on this project] should be able to memorize and share with anyone they want to tell about what they are doing and it should be able to be on the header of this blog, anything you write or email about this wonderful project. You could consider asking kids to volunteer to memorize this piece here that is already written, write a composition of what this means to them and/or keep a journal. The prize of course would be to plant the first spring seeds. 🙂

    Consider adding:
    We grow nutrition
    Childhood obesity harms far too many children in America.
    We grow justice.
    Healthy food gives ALL children a leg up on living well.

    Stay true, good woman.

    • Good stuff—-I will consider adding those pieces to the statement, as nutrition (bigger than food) and justice are important themes, and ones that I think about more and more all the time. Love the feedback, and I will mull it over as we finalize this (and also as we write our vision/mission statement for the Farm to School grant.) Thanks also for reading, Di.

    • Thank you! And thanks also for following. It’s not perfect communication, but there IS something to this on-line feed of information—I do love hearing little tidbits of your work through facebook. It does make me feel more connected than I was before and thus inspired….

      And here’s three cheers for projects that pull together different parts of oneself. I’m glad to have you confirm it too, as the observant friend you are.

  2. Great post! I enjoyed re-reading your mission statement, and it reminds me of how important it is for each of to be thinking about our own and revisiting it often . . . thanks!!!

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