Report on the Home and School Garden Movement of the Recreation Commission

Report #18, April 1918


The home and school garden movement is the promotion of the maintenance of gardens by school children. Where children have a plot of ground at home available for garden purposes they are encouraged to use such land, but in neighborhoods where children cannot have home gardens, a plot is made available for those desiring it, in a community garden. In some instances community gardens are adjacent to or on school grounds and so are sometimes called school gardens. The method of operation is to organize those children who enlist for garden work into garden clubs.

Detroit owes its home and school garden movement to the Twentieth Century Club, and to this group of women the thanks of the city are due for founding so commendable an institution.

Up to 1913 the Twentieth Century Club bore all the expenses connected with promoting the community garden idea among the school children and with maintaining a number of community gardens. In 1913 the Board of Education identified itself with the movement by appropriating $750 annually, which amount supplemented the funds of the Twentieth Century Club for the work. The Board of Education continued to appropriate this money until 1915, when the “home and school gardens” were turned over to the Recreation Commission under whose direction it has been carried on since that time. Mrs. Grosvenor, who for years was one of the leaders in this work for the Twentieth Century Club, has been employed by the Recreation Commission as head of its garden department, and is still acting in that capacity.

The Twentieth Century Club has also been selling, at a nominal price, packages of seeds to the school children of Detroit, an enterprise which entails considerable work on the part of a large number of women in making up thousands of penny seed packages from seed bought in bulk.

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