Children’s and School Gardening
The children’s gardening movement has gained significant momentum in recent years through such efforts as the National Gardening Association’s Grow Lab educational program. Their school gardening grants, consisting of tools, seeds, and garden products valued at an average of $500, are available to 300 programs nationwide. The American Horticultural Society has sponsored national conferences targeting school gardening. There are other outstanding national programs for integrating gardening into the elementary school curriculum, including Life Lab (sponsored by the National Science Foundation), and small businesses, such as Gardens for Growing People, dedicated to supplying children’s gardening resources. A plant selection guide for children’s environments (Moore, 1989) expands the concepts of how plants are used in the landscape.
A number of horticulture industry groups, businesses, and botanic gardens have been involved in supporting children’s gardening. In addition, Cooperative Extension has taken a leadership role in this area, both in 4-H programs (Whittlesey, Curtis, and Laine, 1991) and through Master Gardener efforts, such as the Virginia Beach 4-H Urban Gardening Project entitled Ready Set Grow (Virginia Cooperative Extension, 1990).
Although the broad concept of children’s gardening does not fall under the horticultural therapy umbrella, there are horticultural therapy programs that specifically address children in hospitals and other treatment settings (Kavanagh and Chambers, 1995). In addition, children’s gardening programs from arboreta and botanic gardens may include horticultural therapy in treatment facilities or simply accessible gardening for disabled youth (Morgan, 1989; Moore, 1989).