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"Today's Dietitian" featured College of Health Professions Professor Christen Cupples Cooper, EdD, RDN and Dyson's Michael H. Finewood, PhD in "Benefits of College Farms & Gardens"

08/20/2018

"Today's Dietitian" featured College of Health Professions Professor Christen Cupples Cooper, EdD, RDN  and Dyson's Michael H. Finewood, PhD in "Benefits of College Farms & Gardens"

As reported in The New York Times in 1910, New York City Mayor William Jay Gaynor visited a school garden in DeWitt Park, located in midtown Manhattan. School children served the mayor a meal entirely composed of produce grown in the garden. Francis Parsons, director of the New York City Parks Department Children's School Farm Bureau, went on to open 80 school gardens and train city teachers as gardeners. Parsons reported years later that the garden had made such an impact that several students and their families had moved to the countryside to farm.1

While one may assume that interest in school gardens arose from the relatively recent increased concern for environmental sustainability, the practice began more than 150 years ago and the idea is even older. According to a comprehensive article on the history of school gardens by Kate Gardener Burt, PhD, RDN, published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition in June 2016, 17th-century philosophers such as John Amos Comenius and Jean-Jacques Rousseau asserted that students could learn important lessons about nature through gardening.

Read the full article.