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Raise Money and Promote Wellness with a Gardening-Based School Fundraiser


Is your school organization looking for a new fundraising idea? Have your neighbors, co-workers, and other backers tired of the typical candy/magazine/soy candle sales? Would you like to institute a program that will help your group reach its financial goal while promoting healthy, active lifestyles in your community? If so, consider a seed sale.

There has been a resurgence in gardening as a hobby in recent years as people seek ways to reduce their food budgets, eat locally, and live more healthy lifestyles. Community and school gardens are budding across the country as initiatives like First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign and Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution have raised the public's awareness of the need to promote nutrition and healthier eating in our schools and communities. Your school organization can benefit from these trends during its next fundraising cycle.

Here's a look at two options that are available for a gardening-based fundraiser:

For more information:

Seed Savers Exchange's "Seeds to Grow" Program

Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Decorah, Iowa, that is dedicated to the preservation of heirloom seeds and plants and our country's garden heritage. Through its catalog and on-line store, Seed Savers Exchange offers flower and vegetable seeds and seedlings for sale to the general public. It recently developed the Seeds to Grow program to promote heirloom gardening through school fundraising. The organization believes that selling heirloom seeds will create student interest in gardening, nutrition, health, environmental sciences, and culinary arts while benefiting the school and the gardening community.

How it works: There are six different seed collections for sale at a cost of $10 per collection. Each collection contains four seed packets. Customers may choose among "Big Salad Bowl" (lettuce mix, cherry tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers), "Container Magic" (silver fir tomato, rainbow chard, nasturtiums and purple basil), "Kid's Favorites" (popcorn, sunflowers, pole beans and watermelon); "Pizza Party" (sweet peppers, basil, tomatoes and oregano); "Heritage Garden" (heirloom varieties of lettuce, morning glory, squash and beets); and "Flower Passion" (cosmos, marigolds, nasturtiums and sunflowers).

Customers make payment directly to the school organization at the time of sale. The organization compiles and submits the orders, along with payment of 60% of the total orders. The organization keeps 40% of whatever is sold (or $4 from each collection). Seed Savers Exchange sends all seeds to the organization to distribute.

Seed Savers Exchange recommends that school groups take orders during the months of September, October and November. It will ship out orders between December and February. Groups should make sure all seeds are delivered to customers by March 15 in time for spring planting.

For more information:

Seeds of Change's "Healthy Fundraising" Program

Seeds of Change is a certified organic seed company committed to preserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable agricultural practices. It not only preserves endangered heirloom seed varieties, it develops new varieties that are suitable for farm-scale cultivation without sacrificing flavor. Seeds of Change contributes 1% of all sales to organic agricultural initiatives worldwide. It's Healthy Fundraising program seeks to raise money for schools while encouraging gardening and healthy eating.

How it works: The Healthy Fundraising program has three fundraising kits from which to choose. All three kits include a school garden starter kit containing 25 seed packets to help participating schools create their own gardens and provide plant-based education to students. There is free shipping on all orders.

The Starter Package includes 25 each of four seed collections: "Italian Kitchen" (roma tomato, basil, spinach and orange bell pepper); "Kids Fun-to-Grow" (carrot, pumpkin, sunflower and cucumber); "Salad Starter" (mesclun mix, orange bell pepper, cherry tomato and edible chrysanthemum); and "Zesty Salsa" (jalapeño, cilantro, roma tomato and sweet onion). The school organization purchases the kit for $600 and sells the collections for a recommended retail price of $10 each, for a profit of $400. Unsold collections may not be returned.

The Full School Package includes 375 collections (100 Italian Kitchen, 100 Kids Fun-to-Grow, 100 Salad Starter and 75 Zesty Salsa) at a cost of $2,250 for a potential profit of $1,500. Custom kits with any combination of the four seed collections also are available at a cost of $6 per collection with a $100 minimum order.

Raise Money the Healthy and Green Way

If your organization is looking for a new way to raise money while making a positive difference in the community, consider whether one of these fundraising programs is right for you.


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on September 19, 2015:

Great hub, Deborah. So wonderful to know about this great idea. It's real smart to do for fund-raising efforts.

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on August 16, 2012:

Thanks, teaches. Gardening can teach us so many things. Science, health, nutrition, physical fitness, home economics, sustainability ... the list goes on.

Dianna Mendez on August 16, 2012:

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Voted way up! As an educator I find this idea useful not only to raise funds but to promote beauty and science in the community.

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on August 16, 2012:

Thank you all for the comments and shares. Yes, I can see there are a lot of places where this wouldn't go over well (Keith, I'm glad to see your school is one where it worked), but I wrote this to help further the education process and discussion. There are a lot of schools now that are creating school gardens as both a learning tool and a way to provide the school cafeteria with fresh vegetables. I see those schools as having the best chance of success with a fundraiser like this. But we shouldn't give up on those other schools. Let's keep the discussion going.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 16, 2012:

I like the concept of this, but it won't work unless there's a gardening culture in the school or among school families. I've seen this before, although not from Seeds of Change. It doesn't work to raise revenue that's worth the hours of work required. People would rather buy a chocolate bar or a box of cookies (they don't require any work), and the returns to schools and non-profits are much better.

It's a great concept, but there's a lot of education and publicity that have to go into this before it can be a sustainable fund raiser.

I see that Simone and Maddie report success with similar programs. Maybe they'd write about that to promote what you are writing about.

On the plus side, I love your rainbow chard photo. One of my favorite foods of all time.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 16, 2012:

What an excellent concept! I sure hope your readers take you up on this clever and healthy idea!

KDuBarry03 on August 16, 2012:

My old elementary school used to do this every year and it was always a blast! great article and great information :)

ignugent17 on August 16, 2012:

This is a very interesting project and I would be happy to share this. Voted up and more.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on August 16, 2012:

This truly is a great way to give back and fundraise using a "green" approach. You detailed the two programs very nicely and can tell this is something your are passionate about. Have of course shared and voted up much too!!

cardelean from Michigan on August 16, 2012:

This is a great idea! I'll have to remember this when I go to my first PTA meeting for my daughter. Unfortunately I don't think that this would be well received in the school that I work in. There is a lot of education about good nutrition that needs to be done not only with our students, but with our families, before they would value something like this. Excellent hub!

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on April 25, 2012:

Thanks, Prairieprincess. I want to support the school fundraisers, but sometimes I would prefer just to give money instead of buy more candy or another magazine subscription I don't need. I wish our school would do a seed sale instead.

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on April 25, 2012:

This is awesome! I love the idea of doing a fundraiser that is also teaching kids healthy habits and to respect the earth. Much better than cookies, in my opinion! Great hub.

Luis Bivar Ramos from Porto, Portugal on October 04, 2011:

Great Hub! It's a lovely and healthy way to raise money and I think that we, in Portugal, can take a great advantage from that!

I'll be following your next posts :)

seekingpeace91 on September 30, 2011:

Thanks for this great hub! Do you have any other ideas, timing-wise, for an earn-your-way-to-camp fundraiser? Kids would generally sell items during the months of January through March or April... Would love to find something healthier than the candy sale thing! Thanks again!

tangoshoes on September 30, 2011:

Great hub and I love the idea! Kids need more veggies than candy bars!

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on September 30, 2011:

This is great information. My son's elementary school has a gardening club and I will suggest this to them. It would suit the "personality" of the school and make a great fundraiser. I also will suggest it to our local Boy Scout troop. Thanks so much!

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on September 29, 2011:

Excellent hub! I work in a school in England and we're going to start a gardening club in the Spring (the weather here isn't warm enough for Autumn crops). Really useful information, starting from seeds is an inexpensive way to get kids into gardening and it's educational as well.

FloraBreenRobison on September 26, 2011:

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. I've never seen a seed sale for a school fundraiser before. Speaking of ordinary fundraisers, there was a raffle sale outside the supermarket today for one of the local elementary schools.

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on September 25, 2011:

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. This is such a great idea. I plan to propose it to our elementary school PTA. What a nice change from magazines and candy.


Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on September 25, 2011:

Wow this is such a wonderful idea. I will be suggesting it to our preschool. Voted up!

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! This way please to read and vote:

Maddie Ruud from Oakland, CA on September 23, 2011:

This is a fantastic idea. My middle school also had an edible garden on the campus, the products of which were used in school lunches. The program was started by Alice Waters (of Chez Panisse fame). Selling seeds as a fundraiser in conjunction with a program like that would be amazing!

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on September 22, 2011:

Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone. I hope your school organizations find this information heplful.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 22, 2011:

What an excellent idea this is! My elementary school did something like this, and it went exceedingly well.

elizabethmcgriff from South Alabama on September 15, 2011:

Thanks so much for the information! Our school has just built two gardens to use with the Junior Master Gardener curriculum. This fundraiser would fit perfectly.

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on September 07, 2011:

Fantastic information! Our property is a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat so we fully believe and support any effort to bring back gardening. What a great fundraiser for schools! Wonderful!

UrsulaRose on September 07, 2011:

Wonderfully written inspiring Hub Article. I have a P&C meeting at my childen's primary school next week so I will be printing off a copy of this and taking it in, possibly with a bunch of Swiss Chard from my own garden!

Although I am in Australia, we have similar Seed Saving groups that I could approach and talk 'fund-raising' strategies with them.

BTW, Thanks for the follow, i'll be following you in return and look forward to reading more of your hubs. :-)

Marilyn Alexander from Vancouver, Canada on September 06, 2011:

Great hub. Interesting and informative. I wonder if it might work in the seniors complex where I volunteer. Hmmmm!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on August 29, 2011:

An excellent informative hub, I love these ideas for promoting awareness for healthy living through schools.

Thank you for sharing and voting up.

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