The force of gardening: Investigating children's learning in a food garden

TitleThe force of gardening: Investigating children's learning in a food garden
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGreen, M, Duhn, I
JournalAustralian Journal of Environmental Education
Pagination60 - 73
Date Published2015/01/29/
ISBN Number0814-0626
Keywordsecology, Elementary School Students, Food, Foreign Countries, Gardening, Interaction, Photography, Teaching Methods
AbstractSchool gardens are becoming increasingly recognised as important sites for learning and for bringing children into relationship with food. Despite the well-known educational and health benefits of gardening, children's interactions with the non-human entities and forces within garden surroundings are less understood and examined in the wider garden literature. Using a relational materialist approach (Hultman & Lenz Taguchi, 2010) that considers the material artefacts that constitute a learning environment, this article examines children's interactions with the animate and inanimate life forces through three specific garden photographs. The photos belong to data derived from a study that examined food, ecology and design pedagogies in three Australian primary schools. This paper argues that children's interactions with the non-human materialities of a garden are a vital dimension of gardening practice. The agential powers of gardens have great capacity to mobilise and inform children's inhabitation of food gardens.