Growing Success

The Children’s Vegetable Garden Program, in San Antonio, is one the longest running and most successful U.S. youth gardening education programs.


| July 2, 2010



The Children's Vegetable Garden Program, in San Antonio, is one of the longest running and most successful in the nation.

The CHildren's Vegetable Garden Program, in San Antonio, is one of the longest running and most successful program of its kind in the nation.

courtesy AgriLife Extension/Bexar County Master Gardeners

San Antonio – The Children's Vegetable Garden Program, presented by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County, the Bexar County Master Gardeners organization and San Antonio Botanical Garden, is one of the longest and most successful youth gardening education efforts in the nation, said coordinators.

"The program began in 1983 with the purpose of teaching inner-city kids the benefits of vegetable gardening," says David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture in Bexar County and the program's administrator.

Rodriguez and members of the Bexar County Master Gardeners organization, a volunteer horticultural organization that helps support area AgriLife Extension horticultural efforts, provide oversight and instruction at the one-acre Children's Vegetable Garden located within the botanical garden complex at 555 Funston Place.

Each year, a spring and fall Children's Vegetable Garden Program is presented with 65 to 90 youth participants, he says. Programs are open to children 8 to 13 years of age from Bexar and surrounding counties. During the program period, which is from 9 to 11 a.m. over 16 consecutive Saturdays, children prepare soil, plant, weed, nurture, grow and harvest their own vegetables under the guidance of several Master Gardener volunteers.

"Many of the kids involved in the program don’t know where their vegetables come from and most have never even seen a vegetable garden, much less having tried to grow anything," Rodriguez says. "Typically the kids are fascinated with the bugs they find in the garden, the types and colors of the plants and watching their vegetables grow."

Rodriguez says the program has evolved over the years, but has kept its focus on helping inner-city youth develop an appreciation for nature.





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