We often think of school gardens as a new trend. But school gardens were actually used in parts of Europe as early as 1811, and mention of their value preceded that by nearly two centuries.

In the United States, one of the earliest school garden programs was developed in 1891, at the George Putnam School in Roxbury, Massachusetts. (Today, the nationally recognized Food Project also teaches youth about gardening and urban agriculture in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston).

These school gardens taught much more than simply horticultural skills. The founder of the children’s school farm at DeWitt Clinton Park in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York was quoted in Marie Louise Greene’s book Among School Gardens, saying:
“I did not start a garden to grow a few vegetables and flowers. The garden was used as a means to…teach them in their work some necessary civic virtues, private care of public property, economy, honestly, application, concentration, self-government, civic pride, justice, the dignity of labor, and the love of nature…”
Today, school gardens continue to teach valuable skills to students and their communities. Learn more about the history of school gardens in this article from UCFoodObserver.com, which was originally published in Kitchen Gardeners International.

Incidentally, these historical posters were produced by  illustrator Maginel Wright Enright Barney for the war effort. She was the younger sister of Frank Lloyd Wright and a noted children’s illustrator, whose work continues to charm readers to this day.

Read the article.