This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) The article's lead section may need to be rewritten. Please help improve the lead and read the lead layout guide. (August 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this message) This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources.Find sources: "School garden" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2024) This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. You can assist by editing it. (January 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this message) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Sustainable Teaching Garden at Tarleton State University

A school garden is an area designated for students to learn how to cultivate flowers and vegetable gardens in their school. They are commonly established to improve students' health, social development, and academic achievement.[1]


The value of school gardens in education has long been recognized in Europe. They were started as early as 1819 in Schleswig-Holstein. In 1869 they were prescribed by law in Austria and Sweden, in Belgium since 1873 and in France since 1880. In the early 20th century, there were 20,000 schools in Austria with gardens, 45,000 in France, 8,000 in Russia, and 2,500 in Sweden. The number in the latter country once was double the present number, but has decreased since the introduction of manual training. School gardening was practically obligatory for the children of the common schools of Belgium, Netherlands, British West Indies, and Ceylon. Many of the foreign governments subsidized the school gardens, offered prizes, and made training in agriculture obligatory for normal school graduates.

Some universities in the United States, like Cornell, the University of Illinois, Ohio State University, and Louisiana State University, have taken up the problem of school agriculture, country life, and scientific farming in earnest. Pamphlets are published by experts of agriculture dealing with important phases of school agriculture and school gardens, in particular Jewell's Agricultural Education (Bulletin 368, U. S. Bureau of Education). Present-day school gardening initiatives have also been started to

Curriculum role

The school-garden has an important relation to several curriculum areas. The first of these is nature study. There is no better way of bringing children into contact with plant life than by raising flowers and vegetables in the garden. The children get out of doors, prepare the soil, plant the seed, observe the growth of plants, cultivate them through the season, and finally observe the growth and ripening of the fruit. This whole cycle of growth and change is the most fundamental thing in plant study.

Secondly, the garden has a very important place in the study of geography. In the home geography in the early grades classes of children are required to visit the gardens and study the processes of cultivation and marketing the products. In this way, the principles of gardening lead to learning about agriculture, scientific farming, and fruit raising. Children can be taught about the principles involved in farming, the raising of corn and other grains, the feeding of cattle, dairying and butter-making, fruit-culture, as of berries, stone-fruits, apples, and pears. Scientific agriculture and fruit-raising are based on principles of careful selection of seed and of wise cultivation, of fertilizing and preserving soils, of grafting, pruning and caring for fruit trees, and dealing with insect pests.

The school garden has an important relation to esthetics and design. Floriculture, landscape gardening, tree-planting and fruit-culture appeal to the sense of beauty. The whole yard and garden together need to be planted and laid out on principles of taste and attractiveness.

Many progressive normal schools in all parts of the world are taking up the initiative of school-gardens, both for the teachers and for the children.

School gardens can also be linked to the curriculum in any grade through science, social studies, math, arts, language arts and more. It helps students feel connected to place and is a great example of place-based learning. Having students garden is experiential learning which can involve the whole school and larger community, through involving parents, community partners, and elders from the community. It creates an opportunity for intergenerational learning, where people of different ages can come together to grow food and work towards a sustainable environment and community.

Through school gardens, students learn to work the land and create a food garden in which they can grow food such as lettuce, potatoes, kale, and peas. Students learn about local food and what grows in their environment. It helps to create a connection to food and get students thinking about where their food comes from and what it takes to grow it. It supports better nutrition in students and can incorporate lessons on healthy eating. This real-world, hands-on learning has proven to be very popular with students and schools. The schoolyard can be an extension of the classroom. It connects students to the natural world and helps create responsible caretakers of the planet. School gardens ultimately contribute to connections between students, teachers, community, food, nature, and sustainability.

STEM education

School gardens can extend far beyond the growing of vegetables and produce to incorporate more complex ecological STEM systems. By adding rainwater collection systems, photovoltaic panels, composting systems, methane digesters, tiny houses, and other circular systems, a school garden can begin to function as a robust educational land lab. Food, energy, shelter, sanitation, and water can all be provisioned in a school garden that has the right circular systems in operation.

A school garden can be a powerful STEM instructional component within a larger educational land lab. Ecology, biology, agriculture, energy systems, culinary arts, climate science, soil science, and animal husbandry can all function as cross-curricular topics within a school garden land lab.


Some studies suggest that school gardening programs benefit children's dietary behavior. The experiential nature of cultivating school gardens has allowed it to be effective in increasing their preference and consumption of fruits and vegetables.[2][3] Hence, they are possible initiatives to combat modern health problems, such as food insecurity and childhood obesity.[4] However, more quantitative research is needed to prove school gardens' beneficial effects on health and well-being.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ohly, Heather; Gentry, Sarah; Wigglesworth, Rachel; Bethel, Alison; Lovell, Rebecca; Garside, Ruth (2016-03-25). "A systematic review of the health and well-being impacts of school gardening: synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence". BMC Public Health. 16 (1): 286. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2941-0. ISSN 1471-2458. PMC 4807565. PMID 27015672.
  2. ^ Varman, Sumantla D.; Cliff, Dylan P.; Jones, Rachel A.; Hammersley, Megan L.; Zhang, Zhiguang; Charlton, Karen; Kelly, Bridget (2021-10-15). "Experiential Learning Interventions and Healthy Eating Outcomes in Children: A Systematic Literature Review". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18 (20): 10824. doi:10.3390/ijerph182010824. ISSN 1661-7827. PMC 8535521. PMID 34682570.
  3. ^ Davis, Jaimie N; Spaniol, Mackenzie R; Somerset, Shawn (2015). "Sustenance and sustainability: maximizing the impact of school gardens on health outcomes". Public Health Nutrition. 18 (13): 2358–2367. doi:10.1017/S1368980015000221. ISSN 1368-9800. PMC 10271796. PMID 25704784.
  4. ^ Holloway, Timothy P.; Dalton, Lisa; Hughes, Roger; Jayasinghe, Sisitha; Patterson, Kira A. E.; Murray, Sandra; Soward, Robert; Byrne, Nuala M.; Hills, Andrew P.; Ahuja, Kiran D. K. (2023-02-27). "School Gardening and Health and Well-Being of School-Aged Children: A Realist Synthesis". Nutrients. 15 (5): 1190. doi:10.3390/nu15051190. ISSN 2072-6643. PMC 10005652. PMID 36904189.