Promote School & Community Development
School gardens improve both school environments and the communities in which they are located. In a review of 7 qualitative studies of school gardening programs, all 7 found “improved school attitude and pride in the garden and its produce” among the students, which inspired them to involve their parents in the garden, who reportedly became more involved in the school as a whole (1). A less studied, but highly important, aspect of garden-based learning is its effect on educators. Teachers at school with garden-based learning claim elevated mood and higher “general satisfaction with being a teacher at that school” (2).
School gardens attract community members such as restaurant owners, farmers, and Master Gardeners, to be volunteer speakers, maintenance workers, lesson leaders, produce purchasers, and more. When these and other members of the community become involved, children gain an appreciation for working with adults from the neighborhoods and develop a consciousness for improving neighborhood aesthetics (3). The community-building aspect of school gardens is one of the benefits best supported by peer-reviewed research. Blair’s (2009) review of 7 qualitative studies (mentioned above) also concluded that all studies promoted group cooperation and relationship building among students, provided a wider range of interactions between adults and students, and boosted community outreach (1).
(1) Blair, D. (2009). The child in the garden: An evaluative review of the benefits of school gardening. Journal of Environmental Education, 40(2), 15-38.
(2) Murphy, M., & Schweers, E. (2003). Evaluation of a food systems-approach to fostering ecological literacy. Final Report to Center for Ecoliteracy. www.ecoliteracy.org.
Accessed from: http://www.ourcommunityourkids.org/media/4852/OVERVIEW%20of%20Research%20supporting%20Garden-Based%20Learning.pdf
(3) Pothukuchi, K. (2004).Hortaliza: A youth “nutrition garden” in southwest Detroit. Children, Youth and Environments, 14(2), 124-155.