|Reviewers Comments: ||The Got Dirt? toolkit is a user’s manual for the beginner gardener and adult educator on how to plan, prepare, and maintain a community, school or childcare garden. Developed by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services this booklet has a theme slanted toward the state of Wisconsin, but can easily be used nationally as a resource. It is available to order in print as a booklet and is also available as a free download from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Web site. The Web site notes that because of its large file size (29 MB), the document may be difficult to download for users with dial-up or slower internet connections.
The Got Dirt? toolkit is created for adult educators looking for steps to successfully implement and maintain a garden program for schools or communities. This toolkit is best suited for an educator who is working with an elementary audience and school program. A SNAP-Ed provider utilizing this toolkit would need to have a background in nutrition due to the fact that this toolkit does not go into detail about how to apply the component of nutrition education with implementation of a garden program.
The toolkit is divided into clear sections identifying each chapter. It is organized well with an attractive layout and pictures, making it easy to follow. Most sections are numbered short paragraphs, or bullet points that break information down into steps for easier understanding of each chapter. Various sections of the toolkit go into an understandable amount of detail on how to prepare, start and maintain a garden. Handouts are not provided with this toolkit and due to the detail of the chapters it may be difficult to make copies of some of the chapters. Educators would need to develop handouts adapted from the material.
The content is divided into two parts starting with Basic Steps for Starting a Garden. With basic in the title, an educator may think the steps are also general, but they are actually very specific and include many applicable tips and suggestions such as, suggestions on where to find land, space saving techniques of seed planting, and container gardening. Also, the tool kit provides details about location of gardening, considering the soil, sun, water supply and size of the garden. Part one also goes into detail regarding seeds and tools, preparing the soil, planting, and caring for the garden, and even provides detail on preparing for the next year.
Part two of the toolkit, Gardening Examples and Resources, offers testimonials from community, child and adult care centers and school garden programs in Wisconsin about challenges and achievements of their garden program. Resources are also provided on finding experts, funding and learning more information on community supported agriculture.
Overall this resource is an excellent 58 page one stop resource for an educator or program planner who is thinking about implementing a garden program in a community, school or care center. Although the content of Got Dirt? is somewhat advanced for individuals with little or no gardening background, it maintains a moderate readability, with a fun and organized layout making it easy to understand.
Note: Please see SNAP-Ed Plan Guidance for more information on allowable SNAP-Ed costs. This resource references the old 5-a-Day program. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 2 to 6 ˝ cups of fruits and vegetables a day.