Barriers, Strategies, and Resources to Thriving School Gardens



To identify school garden attributes and practices that most strongly contribute to garden use and sustainability and translate them into recommendations for improving garden-based nutrition education.


Surveys were developed and administered to school stakeholders to assess the barriers, strategies, and resources for successful school garden-based nutrition education. A panel of school garden experts identified thriving school gardens. Logistic regression was used to identify which attributes predicted thriving school garden programs.


Approximately 109 schools across Greater Austin, TX.


A total of 523 school teachers and 174 administrators.


Barriers, strategies, and resources relevant to successful school gardening nutrition programs.


Thriving school gardens were 3-fold more likely to have funding and community partner use (P = 0.022 and P = 0.024), 4 times more likely to have active garden committees (P = 0.021), available garden curriculum (P = 0.003), teacher training (P = 0.045), ≥ 100 students who used the garden annually (P = 0.047), and 12 times more likely to have adequate district and administrator support (P = 0.018).

Conclusions and Implications

Adequate administrative and district support is fundamental when implementing a school garden. Schools may benefit from finding additional funding, providing teacher garden training, providing garden curriculum, forming garden leadership committees, and partnering with local community organizations to improve garden-based nutrition education.



Barriers, Strategies, and Resources to Thriving School Gardens