Even the U.S. government has become an advocate for gardening in schools. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated its pilot program, "Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth" in 2011. Everything from "videos, along with pre-recorded webinars and other downloadable resources comprise a comprehensive toolkit designed to train educators in implementing HGHY’s educational components." (USDA blog)
According to WSU Extension, "The 'Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth' People’s Garden School Pilot Project is an Extension partnership that aims to engage more than 4,000 elementary students in creating vegetable & fruit gardens in 54 low-income schools, as part of a 2.5-year research study."
Yet another study indicated an increase in vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber intake among its control group of children involved in a school gardening project.
Square Foot Gardening Foundation (SFGF) has been teaching this philosophy since its inception. In fact, Mel Bartholomew donated a square-foot garden box to every school in Utah. Now study after study seems to support what SFGF and Mel Bartholomew have long said: that teaching children to garden grows more than just vegetables. It sets children up for a lifetime of healthy habits, such as eating right, connecting with nature, contributing to the greater good, better physical and mental health, self-sufficiency, exercise, and so much more.
It's great to have proof that Mel and SFGF were right all along. But now that the rest of the world has found out about the benefits of gardening and eating fresh-from-the-garden, all they need is Certified SFG Instructors, like you, to show them that Square Foot Gardens are the best gardens of all. Take advantage of all the free tools and resources available here to make a difference in your local schools. Many SFG instructors are already doing just that – and now there's proof that it is making a difference!
WSU Extension: People's Garden Official Website for USDA pilot program for schools project
School Gardens – Growing More Than Vegetables, Harvard Pilgrim report, May 2011, citing studies that show benefits of school gardens
Cornell University: Summary of research findings on six key benefit areas of garden-based learning for children, youth, adults, and families: