The John Hope/Brown partnership is a constantly evolving collaboration between a community center and a University in Providence, Rhode Island. The resources available for download on this page were created with the intention of serving the people and communities involved in the partnership. The resources include lesson plans for gardening, crafts, ecology, composting, and cooking, as well as general information about the John Hope project.

JWU Cooking Demonstration

Out of School Time (OST) staff members expressed a desire to use the garden to teach students about cooking. Brown students created a partnership between the John Hope Settlement House and Johnson and Wales culinary students, and planned a cooking demonstration for OST students. The chefs utilized some ingredients from the JHSH garden and presented two recipes to a group of 15-20 students. The chefs asked for student volunteers and questions throughout the presentation, and at the end everyone had an opportunity to taste the food.

Sidewalk Ends Farm Tours

Farm tours are an important component to garden and agricultural education, as they introduce students to how food is produced at-scale in the “real world.” However, some farms charge fees for student farm tours and transportation costs can limit opportunities to organize farm events for inner-city students. During the summer of 2012, the garden manager contacted an urban farm just 3 blocks from John Hope Settlement House to host a farm tour for Early Learning Center (ELC) kindergarteners and OST students. At the farm, they learned about seasonality, how to grow intensively on small city plots, composting, soil remediation, the CSA business model and urban chicken keeping.

Thanksgiving Cooking Special

In order to fully utilize the garden’s resources, Brown students decided to use produce from the garden in the John Hope kitchen. OST staff had expressed a desire to cook with children as well as to provide a space to talk about the nutrition and seasonality of food we prepare. Brown students and OST staff collaborated on expectations for a cooking class, which led to the Thanksgiving project. Brown students orchestrated and ran a “Thanksgiving Special,” which incorporated produce from the garden into a wider array of Thanksgiving-themed foods, and allowed OST children a chance to cook and learn about food in the John Hope kitchen.

End of the Season Garden Event

After a successful and eventful garden season at John Hope, Brown student researchers felt it appropriate to have an event to celebrate and display both structural improvements and educational events that the community had accomplished. The event was designed to incorporate John Hope students, staff, and parents, as well as Brown students. This event included the completion of final garden projects for John Hope students and staff, led by Brown students. There was also a presentation of posters that informed parents of the garden’s successes.

ELC Classroom Schedule

After the garden’s first summer, ELC teachers requested more consistent and routine schedules for garden activities. In 2012, the garden manager created a summer classroom schedule that allotted teachers an amount of time each week for garden lessons. The Garden Manager prepared and conducted these age-appropriate lessons for each class, except in cases of inclement weather (raining, too hot, etc…) or cancellations. In the future, garden lessons will be prepared and conducted with more collaboration with and participation from ELC teachers.

Garden Curriculum Development

After the garden’s first season, Brown students and ELC staff determined a need for culturally- and age-appropriate garden curriculum. Brown students compiled lesson plans and activities on garden ecology, nutrition & cooking, and history & culture. These lesson plans have been made available to ELC teachers and are included on the website.

Toddler Herb Garden

After the first season of the garden, ELC teachers at John Hope expressed desire for a sensory herb garden in the playground sandbox. They expected that the herb garden would promote more equitable use of the outdoor space by all age groups and staff, particularly for infants and toddlers. This summer, the herb garden played a central role in infant and toddler garden activities, where students touched, tasted, smelled and tended rosemary, lavender, sage, chives, basil, cilantro and dill plants.


After several projects were successfully completed at the ELC, Brown students turned the focus to the OST and saw a need for a better organized composting system. We conducted interviews with both ELC and OST staff and got permission to move a previously unused compost tumbler from the ELC to the OST, where it wouldn't be too heavy for the bigger students. In return, we worked with the ELC to improve on its existing program. Toddlers and teachers liked the existing vermicomposter in one teacher's classroom, so we wrote an accompanying lesson plan to provide ideas for classtime and tips for better use. Time and budget permitting, we hope also to make a second vermicomposter for another teacher who expressed interest in having one for her class.

Painted Tire Garden

The tire garden originated from an initial site evaluation and discussions between Brown students and ELC staff in the spring of 2012 about a designated outdoor gathering space with seating for students and teachers. Brown students created a design that would address child safety, material cost, site security, and later on, overheating and color. In May 2012, Brown students washed and installed ten used tires, which were salvaged at no cost, in a circular arrangement with a flowerbed in the center. In July, a Brown student researcher painted them seven colors of the rainbow.

Teacher Preferred Plantings

In its first season, JHSH teachers and students did not eat certain vegetables from the garden because they didn’t like the vegetable's flavor or didn’t know how to eat and/or prepare them. Brown students and JHSH teachers decided that future plantings should better reflect the food preferences and food cultures of the JHSH community. Brown students conducted a survey with JHSH teachers to determine food preferences, and planned garden plantings around those preferences. For example, instead of planting swiss chard in 2012, we planted collard greens. This has been a popular replacement.

The Greenhouse

Brown student researchers determined that the ELC greenhouse was unused by ELC staff and students, and was being utilized for storage rather than a green growing space for education. With input from the ELC staff, Brown students outlined a plan to increase safety, beauty, organization and cleanliness to increase functionality and usage within the ELC curriculum. The newly organized greenhouse re-opens a safe and colorful space that is appropriate for younger students, and encourages staff to incorporate the room into their day to day activities.

Additional Rainwater Barrel

In an earlier stage of the project, four rain barrels were installed at John Hope: 3 on the ELC side and 1 on the OST side. After speaking with staff of the ELC and OST, it was determined that John Hope, particularly the OST, would benefit from the addition of another rain barrel. After researching various ways to create a rain barrel, it was decided that a rain barrel would be constructed using a salvaged 50-gallon food-grade drum because of the reduced cost. This new rain barrel will enable the OST staff and students to better utilize rainwater as a means to irrigate vegetable gardens during the summer months.

John Hope Welcome Sign and Bed Labels

After multiple incidents of stolen vegetables from the OST garden, Brown students decided to create a welcome sign in an attempt to discourage future theft. With the help of OST staff, they developed the language of the sign, which explains the purpose of the gardens and thanks everyone for respecting the space and leaving the vegetables for the students. The welcome sign works to prevent the loss of student-grown vegetables and engage community members who are interested in learning more about John Hope Settlement House.

The OST Kitchen

Brown students assessed the John Hope kitchen and determined what supplies and non-perishable food items were necessary to make the kitchen conducive to cooking classes. Through donations from the Brown community and by purchasing new items with BSA Inspire grant money they were able to successfully complete this task.

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