Gardening programs have been increasing in popularity since 1995 when California enacted legislation with the goal of putting a garden in every school. Research has shown positive benefits of gardening programs include increasing a child’s academic skills, environmental awareness, and social skills, but little is known about their impact on healthy attitudes and behaviors. Considering childhood obesity rates are rapidly increasing, understanding how educational programs, such as gardening, can impact health has become important. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact Extension gardening programs had on participants’ healthy attitudes and behaviors. Using a pretest/posttest research design with a control group, the researchers found that only slight changes were occurring in participants’ attitudes and behaviors. However, when staff member open-ended responses were reviewed qualitatively, it was found that more is occurring within the program than was uncovered by the quantitative instrument. Recommendations for enhancing the school-based garden program as a result of the findings included teaching participants how to prepare and eat the vegetables they have produced in the garden, increasing instruction on how gardening is a physical activity, and including journaling about the nutritional values of fruits and vegetables to develop positive attitudes about health.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.