School garden outcomes on urban youth
Collins, Ashley DeAnn
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The purpose of this study was to determine what aspect of school garden programs has the greatest positive outcome on urban middle school youth. This includes cultivation (caring for plants), culinary components (cooking produce from the garden), and/or social (working with others) aspects in which urban middle school youth participants have been involved within their school garden program. A quantitative questionnaire was used to measure the outcomes on students (n = 39) who work in the school garden, and a focus group of participating students (n = 4) was conducted to acquire additional, in depth information. The constructs within the study were cultivation, culinary components, and social. Data analysis indicated that the cultivation construct had the greatest positive outcome on urban middle school youth. A surprising find within the study was the insistence of focus group participants that school gardens should be incorporated into all schools. Recommendations for future research were to focus on the social development of students in middle school in regards to school garden programs and to determine if home gardens have a similar outcome that school gardens have on students in regards to these constructs. This study revealed that school garden programs should incorporate cultivation aspects into their school garden programs to have the greatest positive outcome on their students.