Gardeneers is the only Chicago-based nonprofit providing full-service, customized school garden programs with on-going support. Each week, we provide schools with dedicated educators and garden resources to facilitate experiential learning, encourage connections with healthy foods, and ensure each garden’s unique success.

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From the Co-founders & Executive Directors

Like most Teach for America alumni, Adam Zmick and May Tsupros first taught in under-resourced high schools. Their experiences working in food insecure communities lead them to realize how vital healthy food was to their students' growth, both in and out of the classroom.

In the fall of 2013, Adam and May met and joined forces to start Gardeneers. Designed to give students in food insecure communities equal access to healthy fruits and vegetables, Gardeneers is dedicated to school garden education in Chicago.

May Tsupros & Adam Zmick


What we do

Program 1

School Gardens


Each week, garden educators work with students in each of our school gardens focused on our three pillars: Supporting Student Nutrition, Experiencing Nature and Connecting with Communities. Students are involved in the full seed-to-table process: picking out crops, planting seeds, tending to plants and harvesting food to taste, cook or sell at Farm Stands. Our school gardens are living laboratories where students are active participants in their learning.

Program 2

Community Farm Stands


Farm stands connect our school garden programs to the surrounding community. Produce and flowers grown in our school garden programs are sold to parents and neighbors at affordable rates. Our student-run farm stands build community relationships as well as increase access to fresh produce in food desert neighborhoods.

Program 3



Chicago is one of the only cities in the United States with the policies in place to serve school garden produce to students in the cafeteria. Through certication in the CPS Eat What You Grow Garden-to-Cafeteria Manual, Gardeneers is able to harvest and safely serve produce grown in our school gardens to students.


How Gardeneers Was Started

After one of May Tsupros’ students, a high school senior, couldn’t identify a blueberry, she began to consider what her students were eating. Through first-hand observations, she witnessed how lack of healthy food was an obstacle to her students’ success. She started Gardeneers as a way for her students to take ownership of their nutrition.


Where your dollars go


$10/m supports student-run farmstands


$25/month supports 1 student receiving vital school garden education


$50/month provides all of the tools and materials for school garden for one growing season


$300 provides one year of garden education for one student


Key Facts and Figures


Annual Budget
Year ended Dec 2017
Program Spend
Fundraising Spend
Management Spend
Co-founders & Executive Directors
May Tsupros & Adam Zmick
Chicago, IL
# Employees
# Volunteers


Latest posts by Gardeneers

@gardeneerschicago Want to get 15% off on amazing @patagonia gear while doing some great work? Come join us for the Fat Tire Outdoor Adventures with Patagonia on Saturday April 27th from 11 am to 4 pm! All of the proceeds of the event will go directly into garden programming for schools and you can reward yourself with a nice cold drink afterwards, courtesy of @newbelgium_chicago ! Get your tickets while you can at the link in our bio! #gardening #patagonia #fattire #newbelgium #coolevents #schoolgarden #urbangarden #edibleeducation

6 days ago

@gardeneerschicago 🌱🌹🌱 happy Valentine’s Day from Gardeneers! You make our hearts skip a beet 💚 📷 by @francoitalian . . . . . #valentinesday #valentine #gardens #schoolgarden #urbangarden #healthykids #love #veggies #veggielove #organic #green

1 month ago

@gardeneerschicago 🌱🌱🌱 Looking forward to a season full of discovery, active learning, and GREENS! Springtime is right around the corner... . . . . #schoolgarden #urbangarden #edibleeducation #healthykids #chicago #growingschoolgardens

1 month ago

@gardeneerschicago We’re so grateful for the continued support of @patagoniachicago and @patagonia ! Thank you so much for being such a wonderful partner of Gardeneers and the students and communities we serve 💚

1 month ago

@gardeneerschicago 💐 some warmth to brighten this snowy day! Beautiful zinnias grown this summer by teens at our Englewood Student Farm for our friends at @flowersfordreams . . . . . #gardening #garden #schoolgarden #urbangarden #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #goodinenglewood #chicago #youth #edibleeducation #growingschoolgardens #growinghealthykids

1 month ago

@gardeneerschicago 🌱🍅🌱 Reminiscing about sunny summer days in the gardens (and missing fresh cherry tomatoes!)What are you looking forward to growing in the spring? . . . . . #schoolgarden #urbangarden #edibleeducation #growinghealthykids #summertime #tomatoes #veggies #eatlocal #growyourown #urbanorganicgardener #healthykids #green #local #organic #growingschoolgardens

2 months ago

@gardeneerschicago It’s been a great year! We supported 25 school gardens with 2300 students in 2018. Help us reach our goal of securing 30 new monthly donors before the year ends. Commit to giving $10, $25 or $50 per month to support school garden education & food access in 2019. 🥦 🌻 🍅 #schoolgardens #foodaccess #yearendgiving #edibleeducation #growingschoolgardens #chicagoyouth

2 months ago

@gardeneerschicago In 2018, we supported 51 farmstands, facilitated by students who had the opportunity of share their harvest with their community. Can you commit to supporting farmstands on a monthly basis? Link in bio to sign up and help us reach our goal of securing 30 new monthly donor before the year ends. 🌻 #schoolgardens #growinghealthyfutures #growingschoolgardens #farmstands #community #chicagoyouth #endofyeargiving

2 months ago

@gardeneerschicago Spend one year growing school gardens through our AmeriCorps program! We are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis. Head over to to learn more about the program and how to apply. 🌽 🌻 🌶

3 months ago

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Chicago Rises, June 18 2018

Students in Chicago Take To The Garden

It’s officially gardening season, and all around the city, Chicagoans are out tending to their plants. We all know the benefits of gardening: getting outside, engaging in moderate physical exercise, and, of course, growing your own veggies. Through the student-focused organization Gardeeners, students are getting to join in on the gardening fun. Founded in 2014 by two Teach For America alumni, Adam Zmick and May Tsupros, Gardeneers is an organization that exists “to give Chicago students in food desert communities equal access to healthy food and food education.” Working with students from Pre-K all the way to 12th grade, Gardeneers is impacting student lives around the city, one school garden at a time.

In the Fund

Greener Chicago

In the past, the Chicago River was used as a sewage canal, a shipping canal and, perhaps most famously, a dumping ground for the Union Stockyards. The Great Lakes near the city suffers from elevated pollution levels. Proper conservation and protection are required to protect the natural ecosystems across our region.