Carolyn L. Hufford
Over 100 years ago, Cleveland Public Schools Horticulture Program educators began to develop and refine an innovative K-12 horticulture education program in the Cleveland, Ohio public schools. Alumni of this program testify to the profound positive impact it had upon their lives.
The Cleveland Public Schools Horticulture Program Collection, which thanks to generous donations now includes images, audio and digital media, curriculum materials, program administration materials, programs, brochures, awards, blueprints and more, stands as a testament to the earnest work of the young student gardeners and the devoted educators who guided them.
Carolyn L. Hufford
A recurring theme in 20th century Cleveland that continues to the present day is that during difficult economic periods communities of people have come together to raise food crops on city land. The working men’s farms during the Great Depression, the victory gardens during World War II, community gardens established during the years of urban renewal, and the present day market gardeners of the local food movement, all provide examples of revivals of urban agriculture as a response to economic difficulties.
During this same time period the innovative Cleveland Public Schools Horticulture Program (CPSHP) began training the first of many generations of student gardeners. Although the system-wide CPS horticulture program ended in 1978, some of these former school garden sites called tract gardens, became community garden sites. The most significant legacies of the Cleveland Public Schools Horticulture Program were the gardeners themselves. On the commercial front, greater Cleveland was home to America’s largest concentration of farming acreage under glass. (Rose, 1950)
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens, extending along East Blvd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Cleveland's University Circle area, is a unique collection of landscaped, themed gardens each representing a different ethnic group/organization in Cleveland. The gardens, 23 in number, represent many of the cultural backgrounds of Cleveland's diverse population.