Greenwich 2nd graders adopt and tend to lettuce plants for six weeks, and participate in community showcase at the Garden Education Center in Cos Cob, CT.
TIPS & FAQ:  Welcome to the Greenwich Lettuce Challenge! (CLICK HERE for google doc summary including plant care tips, award categories, and printable calendar)

Latest Update June 3rd:    Growing Companions

Update post April 23rd:  The Lettuce is coming!

REMINDERS: Timing for Greenwich Lettuce Challenge 2016

  • Online school registration, Online Registration CLOSED- if you did not receive an email with updates and think you are registered, please contact us ASAP.  Final school enrollment deadline will be Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 5:00 pm
  • Teacher/volunteer Q&A and refreshments, and in-person school registrationlettucechallengecalendar, March 23, 3:30-5:00 pm at the GEC
  • Plant plug pickup for pre-registered schools, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at the GEC, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
  • Deliver three plants per school classroom to the GEC, June 15th, 9am-1pm, with entry forms (entry forms available at dropoff)
  • Lettuce Showcase & Buttercrunch Awards, Wednesday June 15, 2016, 4:00-5:00 p.m. in the Garden Education Center Gallery, Fairchild Challenge Award presentations at 4:30 pm.


Thank you for your participation, support, and enthusiasm for a local Lettuce Challenge.  At the GEC, we have not stopped planting lettuce with children, in various settings, varieties, and growing mediums.  Each of you helped play a role in this vital growth. 
We considered your feedback from last year, and have great news to share:
  • Judging this year will be so much easier:  The Lettuce Challenge is now a part of the NEW Fairchild Challenge at GEC. Since last year, we have been trained by the Fairchild Challenge in the art of academic competitions.  The Fairchild Challenge was designed and initiated by our sister garden, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic garden in Coral Gables, Florida.  As as a new Partner of the Fairchild Challenge, we now have the benefit of their experience, and can offer judges new evaluation sheets, to help with the very difficult process of choosing top winners, from so many entries.
  • Participants are part of an award-winning, interdisciplinary, environmental science competition. The Fairchild Challenge has been recognized as a benchmark for exceptional STEM education and for empowering students to become the next generation of scientists, researchers, educated voters, policy makers, and environmentally-minded citizens. How is growing lettuce is a form of local environmental activism? Here’s an incredible example of how Fairchild Challenge students are growing orchids in Mobile Labs. We like to think of lettuce plants like these FTBG orchids, growing in schools all over town. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jntK5b-BwXI
  • Growing will be easier:  We are shifting the timing to warmer days.  Since last year, we helped three schools install vertical tower gardens, and have great news from GPS PTAC Green Schools about more new school gardens in town.
  • Our teachers will be more confident:  We helped 11 teachers and 170 students over the summer to improve their gardening confidence with weekly visits to summer school gardens.

We are especially grateful for all the 2015 Lettuce Challenge Participants:

  • The GEC greenhouse volunteers and Green Schools parents who helped sow, care for and distribute 522 plants to local second graders to nurture over six weeks in their classrooms
  • The teachers and parents who submitted 60 finalist plants to display at our local lettuce challenge
  • Our esteemed judges and local Selectman Peter Tesei, who helped us celebrate and recognize student and teacher growth with awards for Green Thumbs, Green Hearts, Green Minds, and Green Spaces
  • The volunteers who helped coordinate materials, gather feedback, and the awards event
  • Our members and donors who made this program possible

Our 2016 Judges and Sponsors



More information about the Fairchild Challenge at the GEC, enrollment forms, and details on all challenges CLICK HERE