Down to Earth Gardens

Gardening is proven to be an effective therapeutic tool that is known to decrease stress levels and anxiety. Among incarcerated youth, this sense of peace helps students face their frustrations and challenges while giving them a positive outlet for their expression.

Down to Earth teaches students that growing a garden is like growing into a man or a woman. This powerful analogy gives students a sense of purpose by working with the earth and planting seeds that result in a bountiful harvest that’s actually tangible in their own lives.

In a therapeutic sense, if students enjoy the fruits of their labor, they are more inclined to complete and enjoy their personal goals.


In Their Own Words

    •  “I love this class because I’m learning that I can make healthy choices in what I eat. But now I’m starting to understand that I have choices in how I act and react to situations too. This class has been a great experience!”


    •  “I’m learning how to plant vegetables and survival skills. I’m learning new things about plants that I never knew before and it’s given me a new respect for nature.”


  •  “This class gives me training on how to become a gardener or landscaper. I learn techniques on how to plant and treat plants properly. After experiencing this class, I want to start my own gardening business.


  • ✓ Improve the behavior, attitude and relationships of the youth
  • ✓ Expose students to social skills that will increase their comfort and success in group settings and among peers
  •  ✓ Provide job training skills in horticulture and landscaping by teaching about tools, equipment and techniques
  •  ✓ Down to Earth is based on the California Biology Standards – students learn about biology through direct experience working with the earth


  • ✓ Understanding sustainability
  • ✓ Basic Plant Care
  • ✓ Soil Composition
  • ✓ Composting
  • ✓ Assembling Window Boxes
  • ✓ Assembling Container Gardens
  • ✓ Vegetable/Herb Gardening
  • ✓ Garden Design
  • ✓ Garden Installation


  • ✓ Violence prevention
  • ✓ Social consciousness and awareness
  • ✓ A sense of freedom and ease in groups and among peers
  • ✓ Sense of self-esteem and accomplishment
  • ✓ Changes in attitude toward authority figures
  • ✓ A deep sense of connection to oneself and the earth
  • ✓ Empowered to make positive choices in life
  • ✓ Job skills training in landscaping and gardening