School and community gardens are bursting with radical educational potential. These urban gardens can provide a space of outdoor learning, fresh food for local communities (from families to food banks), and a space of health and mental wellbeing for students. Tackling the global climate challenges we face requires learning a range of practical skills for ecological justice.
Our mission is to grow school and community gardens into sites of student pride, outdoor learning, and community engagement.
There are over 4,000 secondary schools in the UK, yet school gardens remain under-researched spaces for building socially progressive urban ecologies. Accordingly, our research will test the effectiveness of school gardens in Leeds and Glasgow. Our gardens garden will be designed, built, and evaluated, by a team of interdisciplinary researchers from the Universities of Glasgow, Leeds, and Arizona, as well as teachers from Leeds, Glasgow, and Tucson.
Learning how to grow vegetables, collect rainwater, aerate the soil, and design sustainable growing spaces, immerses students in their local environments, communicates important scientific knowledge, and prepares them for enacting different, more dignified, urban futures. This project therefore has five objectives:
- Empower an international team of researchers and school teachers to develop an innovative school garden partnership that bridges urban biomes between the UK and the U.S.
- Connect students to their local environment, and encourage an awareness of urban environmental justice, sustainability, and food autonomy.
- Deliver students with the resources to improve their gardening skills, scientific knowledge, collaborative capacities, and ecological citizenship.
- Produce innovate curricula and policy that can be shared between schools.
- Create world-class scholarship to guide future school garden developments in an era of climactic change.