As recently as five years ago, finding resources for school gardening programs wasn’t exactly an easy task. Now, however, there is an abundant amount of curriculum, blogs, websites, and other materials to help even the most inexperienced novice start a school gardening program. One might ask, “Why all the fuss? What are the benefits of such programs?” Fortunately, with additional resources comes additional research to answer these questions.
Cornell recently published several highlights from journal articles that noted six key benefits of garden-based learning for children, youth, adults and families. These six benefits include nutrition awareness, environmental awareness, learning achievements, life skills, health and wellness, and community building/social connections.
Some of the specific results mentioned that “school gardening may affect children’s vegetable consumption, including improved recognition of, attitudes toward, preferences for, and willingness to taste vegetables.” One study found that students “gained more positive attitudes about environmental issues after participating in a school gardening program”, while another study found that science achievement test scores were significantly higher for students who experienced garden-based learning.
Current research has also found that students who are involved in gardening programs have a sense of overall wellness. Increased self-esteem, lower stress levels, and a reduced risk of depression are closely connected benefits. Additionally, the National Environmental Education Foundation summarized a variety of research studies, one of which stated, “children living in greener areas are less likely to become obese”, and that “green school grounds promote increased and more vigorous physical activity.”
This, along with many other benefits school gardening offers, is the very reason WHRI partners with the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition to conduct after-school garden clubs on six WISD campuses. We have seen some of these benefits first-hand, and with proof like that, who wouldn’t want to support such a positive movement?
Check out the link below to learn more about some of the studies mentioned in this article:
A special thanks to these organizations supporting the school gardening movement:
- Alcoa Foundation
- Baptist General Convention of Texas-Texas Baptist Hunger Offering
- Baylor University
- Cooper Foundation
- Communities in Schools-Heart of Texas
- Darden Foundation
- Harlon’s Fund
- Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition
- Presbyterian Hunger Program
- Wal-Mart Foundation
- Whole Kids Foundation