Keys to successful garden-based learning programs

Research has indicated that successful garden-based learning programs demonstrate high levels of youth development and leadership, community development and involvement, and participatory evaluation as a regular program feature. Programs are considered to be more successful when children and youth are involved in the entire process of the school gardening program (planning, design, implementation, and evaluation).

8 unique features of garden-based learning programs that develop positive qualities in youth:

    The program has a positive focus
    Youth are viewed not as “objects” but as “resources,” and have a voice in program planning, development, implementation
    There is an emphasis on proactive behavior
    Participants "own" responsibility for their own behavior
    The program is inclusive ("involves everyone")
    The program builds a vision
    Cooperation is emphasized
    "Hope" is a norm in the program environment or atmosphere