Students learn natural science and citizen responsibility through gardening in Cleveland

June 9, 2016

 

In Cleveland, a historical counter-movement to industrialization has embraced urban agriculture as a way to humanize an otherwise degrading industrial environment. In 1907, the Home Gardening Association began encouraging gardening to beautify and reduce the harshness of industrial landscapes and to improve fitness and health. Urban agriculture also addressed particular crises, such as the work relief gardens that provided food relief to the 25 percent of unemployed city residents during the Great Depression and the growth of victory gardens during World War II.

Cleveland had one of the most active school gardening programs in the country from 1910 to about 1977. By the 1950s, all Cleveland public school students maintained garden plots as a way to learn natural science and responsible citizenship. In addition to schools, Cleveland supported a thriving commercial greenhouse industry with more than 220 acres of greenhouse production during much of the 20th century.

 

Brad Masi, Janet Fiskio, and Md Rumi Shammin, "Urban Agriculture in Rust Belt Cities," Solutions, January-February 2014, Volume 5, Issue 1: p 49

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