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Children in a garden caring for plants.
Teachers and community leaders will learn more about school and community gardens at the upcoming Oklahoma School and Community Garden Conference on July 21 in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Conference open to educators and community leaders interested in gardening curriculum

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Media Contact: Trisha Gedon | Sr. Communications Specialist | 405-744-3625 |

Oklahoma State University Extension horticulture and gardening experts will partner with local gardening enthusiasts to present the Oklahoma School and Community Garden Conference.

It is slated for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 21 at the Oklahoma County Extension Conference Center, 2500 NE 63rd St., in Oklahoma City. The conference is geared toward teachers, administrators and community leaders with an interest in starting a school or community garden. An optional self-guided tour of community and school gardens in Oklahoma City will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on July 22.

“For some people in today’s modern society, there is a disconnect between themselves and nature,” said Julia Laughlin, Oklahoma County OSU Extension horticulture educator. “They don’t know where their food comes from other than the grocery store. Having access to a school or community garden is beneficial to all ages. It’s healthy for the human spirit to be connected to nature, and teaching people about gardening helps make that connection.”

Registration is $15 and includes lunch and a take-home Smart Pot. Please call 405-713-1125 to register by July 19. The morning session will cover growing vegetables, herbs and flowers. The afternoon session will split into school and community garden learning opportunities.

In addition to Laughlin, the following experts will share their knowledge at the conference:

  • Micah Stover, education director for Oklahoma City Beautiful
  • Cici Leonard, coordinator of the Oklahoma County Jr. Master Gardener Program
  • Shelby Mendoza, manager of Stillwater’s Our Daily Bread community garden
  • LaTasha Timberlake, owner of Lillian Timber Farms INC
  • Shelley Mitchell, OSU Extension youth horticulture specialist

Topics on the conference agenda include:

  • Getting started with the basics of gardening
  • Using gardening as a theme in school curriculum
  • Soil building and raised bed construction
  • Guidance in finding and creating rules and regulations
  • Funding sources

Planting and nurturing a garden is a great way to get people, especially children, interested in eating healthy.

“People want to know they can find fresh food. Since the pandemic, the interest in gardening has increased,” Laughlin said. “School and community gardens are ways to keep that momentum going.”

For more information, contact Laughlin at 405-713-1125.

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