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Michigan State University

School Gardening in the early 1900s through today: School Gardening

Primary source materials and information about gardening within K-12 schools in the early 20th century through today. Now a part of the AgNIC network!

General Books

School Gardens


Gardening as part of the school curriculum began in the United States in the early 1900s and is still thriving today. Magazine articles, education and extension bulletins, and even associations were written and created to support the growing of food and the responsibility it entails to children. This Research Guide pulls together many of the documents from the early twentieth century through World War II that have been digitized (scanned) and are available to the public through the Internet.  This is by no means a complete list, but provides a launching pad to the primary documents from this era on this subject.

The tabs at the top of the guide address many of the key documents that have been digitized, namely the United States School Garden Army documents and many of the Department of Interior, Bureau of Education documents, including the set of 17 School Home-Garden Circulars. The other tabs include lists of other digital documents from this ere, plus contemporary online information and some national and state-based school gardening organizations.


For a historical overview of gardening in the schools, consult the following documents as they provide insight to the topic from both the educator and the agriculturist/gardener points of view.

School Gardens with Constance Carter
Constance Carter, Head of the Science Reference Section, Library of Congress, describes the history of the school garden in America and offers reasons why school gardens are making a comeback.  [The webcast is excellent.]

School Gardens / E. Gang. Report of the commissioner of education [with accompanying papers], 1899. Chapter XX, pp 1067-84.

Children's gardens for school and home: A manual of cooperative gardening / Louise Klein Miller 
NY: Appleton, 1904, 235 pages.

The school garden, Farmers Bulletin 218 / Lee Cleveland Corbett
USDA, 1905, 40 pages

School and home gardens / William Herman Dietrich Meier
Ginn and Company, 1913. 319 pages

The war garden victorious / Charles Lathrop Pack
Chapter VIII: The Army Of School Gardeners: How the Children of America were Mobilized by the Government
Philadelphia, J.P. Lippincott Company, 1919. 179 pages

Agriculture & Plant Sciences Librarian

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Suzanne Teghtmeyer
Main Library
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East Lansing, MI 48824

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