Planting gardens at schools is not a new concept. The school garden movement first took off in 1917 when the U.S. School Garden Army was created with the motto, “A garden for every child, every child in a garden.”
As of late, school gardens have experienced resurgence. A growing number of teachers are embracing school gardens to teach students much more than how to put a seed in the ground, care for it, watch it grow and enjoy the harvest provided by the plant.
Becky Griffin, community and school garden coordinator for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, says school gardens are gaining momentum for several reasons, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education requirements.
“Schools can get a feather in their cap for using their school garden to meet the STEM certification,” Griffin said. “Teachers use their gardens to teach history by growing beans that (Meriwether) Lewis and (William) Clark brought back from their expedition, and they plant colonial gardens filled with crops from the time of George Washington. They also use school gardens to teach math. You use lots of division and recording to plant a garden. Some teachers have the students grow their crops in geometric shapes.”
English teachers use school gardens by reading a book, then planting crops or flowers that were mentioned in the book, Griffin said.