The Huffington Post‘s Daniel Bowman Simon recently contributed this article, which is at once a spirited history of the rise of New York City’s public school gardening programs, a lament of the sudden disappearance of these programs, and a call to action, heralding the return of such programs. School gardens in New York City hit their stride around the 1930′s, says Simon:
“By 1925, 99 New York City public elementary schools reported school gardens. In 1930, 244 gardens were reported, and that number jumped 24% to 302 in 1931, when the New York Times reported 65 Acres of School Gardens under cultivation.”
Simon recalls the humble, inspirational roots of the program, which can be traced to a single school garden started by Fannie Griscom Parsons in 1902. That a single person could have such an impact on the educational gardening policies of an entire city is staggering, and should serve as an inspiration to our entire program. Simon warns that the implementation of garden-based learning will not be easy in a city in which space is at a premium, but feels that with the cooperation of community gardens, the phenomenon of public school gardening can once more be a reality for the City of New York.