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Mental Health: School Gardens


  • Mental health,
  • Social environment,
  • Schools,

Create school gardens

How to implement

The double asterisks indicate evidence found through a rapid review of primary research studies and systematic reviews exploring the impact of community gardens on social and mental health. For more info on the rapid review, click here

  • Work with school communities to establish school-based community gardens. These gardens:
    • Can help support the development of social connections and positive relationships.**1-4
    • May support stress relief, especially for participants with mental health concerns and for ethnic minorities and newcomers.**4

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has developed a detailed guide to growing school gardens in Alberta.

Example in action: Agriculture for Life’s Little Green Thumbs program supports Alberta elementary to high school students to actively participate in classroom gardening. The program helps students understand where their food comes from and the impact of fresh food on our health, environment and community.

Did you know: In addition to developing positive social connections among students, school gardens may strengthen connections between schools, parents and the wider community.**2

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  1. Kim S, Park S, Son K. Improving peer relations of elementary school students through a school gardening program. HortTechnology. 2014;24(2):181-187.
  2. Block K, Gibbs L, Staiger PK, et al. Growing community: The impact of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program on the social and learning environment in primary schools. Health Education & Behavior. 2012;39(4):419-432. doi: 10.1177/1090198111422937. Available from:
  3. Chang Y, Su W, Tang I, Chang C. Exploring the benefits of school gardening for children in Taiwan and identifying the factors influencing these benefits. HortTechnology. 2016;26(6):783-792. Available from:
  4. Ohly H, Gentry S, Wigglesworth R, Bethel A, Lovell R, Garside R. A systematic review of the health and well-being impacts of school gardening: Synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence. BMC Public Health. 2016;16:286-121. Available from:
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