The United States Department of Agriculture estimated that there were more than 75,000 school gardens in 1906. The use and purpose of school gardens served multiple purposes;  school gardens provided a place where youth could learn natural sciences, agricultural, life and at times vocational skills. The array of uses and purposes for gardens made it difficult for gardening proponents to firmly anchor gardening in the educational framework and a school’s curriculum. The founders of the kindergarten movement used gardens as an educational tool. What was see was a need for balance in education, a balance that included “hands, heart, and head,”. This framework would then be incorporated into the mission of the United States Department of Agriculture’s 4-H youth development program.

Both World Wars also brought on programs that pushed youth to participate in local gardening for the war time efforts. It is noted that Woodrow Wilson used defense funding to fund an army of school gardeners. It was seen that this work was of great importance to the nation and to national security. This federally promoted curriculum written by the Federal Bureau of Education promoted the slogan “A Garden for Every Child. Every Child in a Garden.”

Fundamentally the ideas for the EXPO program follows these same historical goals. The EXPO program looks to expand upon these core ideas as well as expand into new ideas and frameworks. We are promoting the idea that not all education has to happen within the four walls of a classroom, on worksheets, or in a curriculum text. Education and learning at its core is unbounded the divides in classroom disciplines and the times and places where learning can exist are more in our minds than in reality.


Text samples:

The Beginner’s Garden Book; A textbook for the upper grammar grades – 1914
Principles and Practice of School Gardening – 1913
The School Garden. A practical contribution to the subject of education – 1879
Children’s Gardens for Pleasure, Health and Education – 1910
How to Make School Gardens; A manual for teachers and pupils – 1915
Among School Gardens – 1910
Gardening in Elementary City Schools – 1916
Educational School Gardening and Handwork – 1913
Children’s Gardens for School and Home : A manual of cooperative gardening – 1904
The School Garden Book – 1909