Students prefer hands-on learning, and school gardens combine environmental science, fresh-air exercise and nutrition with fun. You can raise funds to start a school garden or some other needed project with a fundraiser, including SchoolGardenCo's handmade herbal lotions and soaps. They'll split the sales with your school or charity 50/50. For how-tos on starting school gardens, see Resources, below.

Or, you can help by simply buying School Garden Co.'s products as gifts, because they give all their after-tax profits to school garden programs. Even indoor gardeners get dry, chapped hands, and the most comforting salve we've found is their Hand Help, an opulent lotion with a just-right texture (not too hard, not too oily) made of beeswax and olive, rosemary, lavender and calendula oils, $12 for a bright rose 2-oz. tin. A little goes a long way. They also make a Hand Healer with yarrow, comfrey and sage, and chapstick, bath salts, bar soaps; see their gift box.  

Dishwashers will also appreciate the Gardener's Carrot Salve ($5.99) from Purple Prairie Botanicals, which uses organic beeswax, olive and coconut oil, as well as carrot and other plant oils. With no petrochemicals in any of their made-in-Minnesota products, Purple Prairie is a signatory of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics pledge to rid products of toxic ingredients. Can't resist PP's Carrot Rose face cream, perfectly pure and only $6.99 for 2 oz. 

Resources: It's never too early to plan a garden; below, some tips and info.

*At Ecoliteracy, your school can get a free book on designing a school garden.

*Click here for how to get grants and raise funds.

*California School Garden Network provides a plethora of info and links. So does the Arts & Ecology Center in Sonoma Valley, CA.

*Competitive colleges, take heed: Yale's sustainable food system includes an organic farm that that supplies its dorm dining halls.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2008. The story was added to

Copyright Environ Press 2008