Skip directly to: content | section navigation | search

This Site People Cornell more options
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Urban Environment > People's Garden
People's Garden 


Photos by Beverly Bauman


“Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth” People’s Garden School Pilot Project – New York State
Welcome to the People’s Garden School Pilot Project’s webpage for New York!

Program Background
The “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth” People’s Garden School Pilot Project is an Extension Partnership that aims to engage more than 4,000 elementary students in creating vegetable & fruit gardens in 54 low-income schools in four pilot States, as part of a 2.5-year research study. In addition to Cornell University Cooperative Extension, key partners include:

  • Washington State University Extension
  • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and
  • University of Arkansas Extension. 

The randomized study, led by Nancy Wells, Dept. of Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University, is examining the effects of school gardens on the students’ fruit and vegetables consumption, and other educational outcomes. Schools have been assigned to either the intervention group (gardens starting in Spring 2012), or the waitlist control group (gardens starting in late Spring 2013).  The project’s first year of data collection has involved 2nd, 4th and 5th grade classes; Year 2 will follow the same cohort as they enter into the 3rd, 5th and 6th grades. 

This project is funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and was selected as the sole recipient of this nationwide grant program.

In New York, leadership is provided by Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC.
Participating Cooperative Extension association offices include:

--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County

--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe and Wayne Counties

--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County

--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County, and

--Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County



"Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth" in New York involves 15 elementary schools located in the NY counties listed above, including:

1)       Deposit Central School, Deposit, NY 

2)       Downsville Central School, Downsville, NY

3)       Margaretville Central School, Margaretville, NY

4)       Roberto Clemente School #8, Rochester, NY

5)       Perkins Elementary, Newark, NY

Photos by Caroline Kiang  

6)       Kelley Elementary, Newark, NY

7)       Grandview Elementary, Monsey, NY

8)       Hempstead Elementary, Spring Valley, NY

9)       Summit Park Elementary, New City, NY

10)    William C. Keane Elementary, Schenectady, NY



11)    Dr. Martin Luther King Magnet, Schenectady, NY

12)    Yates Magnet School, Schenectady, NY

13)    Jessie T. Zoller Elementary, Schenectady, NY

14)    LaFrancis Hardiman and Martin Luther King, Jr, Wyandanch, NY

15)    Riverhead Charter School, Calverton, NY


Overall Project Goals

Goal 1. Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
Engage youth enrolled in high-poverty schools to increase access to, and consumption of, fruit and vegetables through hands-on learning about growing food.

Goal 2.   Empower Youth in Their Communities
Empower youth to use and share their new interests, knowledge and skills to grow and sustain gardens and choose healthy foods at school, home and in their communities.

Goal 3.   Contribute Toward a Sustainable Environment and Food System
Develop children’s, youths’ and educators’ appreciation for the public health, environmental and social benefits gardens provide to local communities (i.e., physical activity, connection to nature, fresh food production, and social networks).

Goal 4.   Build a Nationwide Network
Build a network of Extension educators and volunteers working across disciplines to leverage existing federal, state, and local investments in programs like SNAP-Ed, 4-H/Youth Development, Master Gardener Volunteers and community-based horticulture programs through a common garden-based learning program, which can be replicated nationwide.

Schools are active partners in this research, collecting data as well as delivery of educational lessons and activities by teachers.  We are also engaging food service and physical education staff to create an integrated approach to improving students’ nutrition and health. Local Extension professionals and volunteers, such as Master Gardener Volunteers, are working with students and teachers to create, plant, harvest and maintain the garden, as well as supporting teachers in delivery of hands-on learning.  Families, caregivers and other community members are becoming engaged by contributing information about the home environment and eating practices, learning about nutrition concepts, and trying out new recipes at home.

To visit the national "Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth" national project website, please click

The project has also created a Facebook page that is enabling schools, families and volunteers to share stories, videos and photos about their gardening experiences, such as produce grown and harvested, or salads tossed!  Please check back regularly for updates.

To learn more about USDA Food and Nutrition Service's People's Garden program, please click here.
To see a map of all People's Garden sites including "Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth" school gardens, please click here.

 * * * * *

The Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth program is a pilot project of the USDA's Peoples Garden Program and has been funded in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.  Project number CN-CGP-11-0047.