NCR-SARE: Seeds, Soil, and Worms

Seeds, Soil, and Worms created activities and curricula for elementary school students using: seed sprouting, vermin-composting, and soil health. The project began in March 2011 and officially ended March 2013, although these curricula will continue to be used in CCUA’s programming. This project was funded by a Youth Educator Grant from the USDA North-Central Region of Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE). The project’s aim is to engage young students to develop an appreciation for the scientific processes that contribute to sustainable urban food production.  Our lessons dispel notions that food comes from the grocery store and soil is not living. Allowing students to sprout their own seeds empowers them to know that they can grow their own food. Seeing soil as a complex system of living organisms allows students to view the world around them with a scientific eye.

Here are some lessons you can use in a classroom or at home:

Worm Bin Activity for Students

Worm Bin Activity (Teacher’s Edition)

Soil Activity

Germination Activity


Upon implementation of the above curricula, our project leader, Chris Murakami, conducted additional research about integrating agriculture into the classroom and produced a poster titled “A Garden for Every Child. Every Child in a Garden: Historical and Contemporary Arguments and Implications for Schoolyard Gardening Programs.” It was presented at the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association conference on August 3, 2011, in Lexington KY.