Our School Gardens

Riverside Garden Spring Fundraising Drive

Thank you to everyone who attended the Spring Fling last Friday. What a wonderful event and fantastic weather! The event was a huge success and raised $2,000. However that leaves us $2,000 short of the garden's annual budget of $4,000 for the 2018-19 school year. If you were unable to attend the event, please consider giving a donation to support the garden. Please make your donations here:

Garden Funding History

Our garden is a unique learning environment for our children and we are blessed to have one. The garden was founded in 2001 by then Riverside Parent Dor Mullen in response to the 9/11 attacks. With the help and dedication from teachers and parents the garden grew over the next 13 years. During those 13 years the garden was funded 100% by the Riverside PTO. In year 13, Beth Behrend petitioned the Princeton School District to not only provide funding for our garden but to fund gardens at each of the Princeton Elementary schools. Through Beth's determination, that came to a realization and the district provides funding for care and education at all 4 elementary schools. While this funding is a huge relief, it mainly covers the class time portion of our garden. A garden needs maintenance in order to provide the appropriate learning environment and that is where the Riverside PTO and parents comes in. Without the support of parents both financially and during garden classes, our garden cannot continue as it is. We truly appreciate all you do for the garden and hope that you continue to support it.


Bonnie Funiciello

Riverside PTO Garden VP

Congratulations to Principal Bill Cirullo, recipient of the 2013 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award!


Riverside School Principal Bill Cirullo approved the garden plan shortly after September 11th, 2001, when parent Dorothy Mullen asked to develop a community garden as a peace-oriented service project. Her particular interests were in children's health and nutrition, environmental stewardship, and what has come to be called "food security."

Today, thanks to Dorothy's efforts and the hard work of our student and community volunteers, Riverside School is the home of the largest public school garden in New Jersey. Our gardens include over a dozen “outdoor classrooms” and a vegetable garden for the benefit of our local food pantry. Our outdoor classrooms now include butterfly gardens, vegetable and raspberry patches, a community Lawn-to-Food program, a container garden and vibrant compost piles (where some of the best lessons are learned).

Through a Garden Residency funded in large part by the PTO, Riverside students pre-K through grade 5 learn while gardening on a regular basis, experiencing hands-on lessons in science, mathematics, language arts, environmental stewardship, community service and more. Our children plant, tend, harvest and taste - experiencing real food as it grows in nature.

Students and parents also enjoy the fruits/labors of our gardens as part of our after-school Garden Club. These families work year-round, helping "wake up" the gardens in spring, tending them during the growing season and "putting the gardens to bed" in late fall.

The Go Green Committee is a group of parents and teachers interested in improving our children's awareness of our carbon footprint, promoting green initiatives in the school and the community, emphasizing health habits, garbage reduction, etc. Our short term goals are to promote a "no bottle water" policy in the school, promote the use of reusable water bottles, garbage-less lunches, recycling of packaging materials, turning off the lights, cafeteria waste composting, etc.

We also have a training program for Master Gardeners, as well as parents and educators who want to start gardens in their own school districts. We host tours and workshops for staff, parents and volunteers from all over New Jersey, helping them start up school gardens, sharing lessons, and giving members of the larger community a beautiful view of what it’s possible to do with a relatively small budget and many willing hands.

Riverside parents and community members - we'd love your time and talents. If you'd like to receive mailings about garden activities, help in the gardens in any way, with your time, talents or as a "garden angel" financial sponsor, please contact Beth Behrend at beth.behrend@gmail.com. Our gardens are supported in large part by our PTO and all support is appreciated!!

Our gardens have been featured in the New York Times ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/nyregion/new-jersey/07Rgarden.html)

and in a 2011 School Leader magazine article!

Click here for a tour of our famous outdoor classroom.